Impearls notes that Jackson modeled the Rohan on �horsey Vikings� and then writes a long and interesting article on the Sarmatians and suggests that they also could have been viewed as a model for the Rohan. Impearls also suggests that in the future he will look at other possible historical models for the Rohan.
Professor Bainbridge disagrees a bit:
...offers up a thoughtful argument criticizing Peter Jackson's decision to model the Rohirrim after "horsey vikings," and suggesting that the Sarmatians would have made a better modelNow in my reading of Impearls he seemed to say that not only was he not criticizing Jackson's approach but, rather, was quite happy with it and that his intent is simply to look at the Sarmatians as another historical analogue that might have served as a model for the Rohan.
Read Impearls and decide whether the Sarmatians would make a good model for the Rohan. Bainbridge thinks not and provides a number of reasons.
Via Eugene Volokh.
Update(1/5): I belatedly correct the 3 misspelling of Sarmations. Having just read a book called Mars Crossing I clearly was hoping that Impearls essay was about a long lost Martian civilization.
Posting will resume on Saturday.
It seems everybody has a list. These are from Amazon:
As many of you know the French government is dabbling with dress codes:
President Jacques Chirac of France has called for a law banning Islamic head scarves and other religious symbols in state schools, strengthening France's commitment to secularism.Sadly, at least one major Muslim cleric thinks that this is ok:
The grand sheik of Al Azhar, Muhammad Sayed Tantawi, told reporters that although wearing the head scarf, or hijab, was a religious duty, governments of non-Muslim countries had the right to pass any laws they liked.He argues first that Muslims living in non-Muslim countries must follow the local laws even if they conflict with Islamic law. This is fine.
However his argument that governments have the right to pass any laws they like is false and we all need to speak up and say no when we hear arguments like this.
What folks wear as they go about their daily lives, even in tax funded schools, is not a legitimate interest of any government.
A French spokesperson says:
"You shouldn't see in it a humiliation for anyone," Mr. Sarkozy said. "You shouldn't see in it a lack of respect for your religion. You must understand that secularism is our tradition, our choice."Sorry, it is a lack of respect for their religion and, more importantly, it is a lack of respect for the targeted individuals.
Alaskans will vote next fall:
Registered voters will get a chance to decide next year whether to legalize private use of marijuana for Alaskans 21 and older.In one sense it is a good thing that this is on the ballot. The good citizens of Alaska may thumb their noses at their elected representatives.
However, this is not something that should ever end up on the ballot. Nor, in the first place, should legislatures or congresses or parliaments be ruling one way or another on this or similar issues.
Via Via the Media Awareness Project.
Now this looks pretty cool.
Here is the source website but it is not apparent how/where you could buy one of these things.
Well, it might be post Xmas now but this is too good to wait until next year:
808 versions of the classic Xmas poemWarning: some of these are not nice.
Bilmon wrote a long and excellent essay on the history of the neoconservatives and their interplay with the foreign policy realists over the last 30 years.
Has neocon influence peaked? Is Wolfowitz the next Secretary of Defense or will he be gone from the Pentagon by February?
A must read if you are interested in US foreign policy.
While it took longer than it should have ashcroft has recused himself from the Valerie Plame leak investigation:
"The attorney general in an abundance of caution believed that his recusal was appropriate based on the totality of the circumstances and the facts and evidence developed at this stage of the investigation," Comey said. "I agree with that judgment."Hmmmm, the evidence might be just a wee bit interesting.....
Comey did not say exactly what evidence necessitated the recusal.
Sen. John Kerry, recovering from prostate surgery, was told it would be six weeks before he could be sexually active.
Joe Lieberman called to wish Kerry well.From Nurse Ratched.
Al Sharpton called Kerry to offer prayers.
Howard Dean called with a get well message.
Richard Gephardt called with encouragement on recovery.
Bill Clinton called Mrs. Kerry.
The Nielson folks can speak for themselves:
Selected by Nielsen//NetRatings� EuropeanA few of the European centered selections were not familiar to me.
analytics team, the following ten websites and Internet applications are the ones we feel have had the
greatest impact on the Internet and on society as a whole so far.
Let's see: you are standing on the Golden Gate Bridge, map in hand pointing out across the bay:
The FBI noted that use of almanacs or maps may be innocent, "the product of legitimate recreational or commercial activities." But it warned that when combined with suspicious behavior -- such as apparent surveillance -- a person with an almanac "may point to possible terrorist planning."Terrorist or recreationist?
How long before almanacs, maps, etc., disappear from stores, libraries and the web?
In Central Alabama drug related cases keep prosecutors busy:
Giddens estimates that about half of the criminal cases set to go to trial every month are pure drug cases, either possession of marijuana or other controlled substances, distribution, trafficking, manufacturing and others.The percentage is much higher when drug related cases are added to the 'pure' cases.
This makes me think there might be a pretty easy way to find some money to divert to 'important' government services.
Via the Media Awareness Project.
I feel like I've not been paying attention because I had no idea. Until a few minutes ago.
I don't think I'll spend much time learning more about that chick.
The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals takes a step in the right direction:
"We conclude that an original discriminatory purpose behind Florida's felon disenfranchisement provision establishes an equal protection violation that persists with the provision unless it is subsequently reenacted on the basis of an independent, nondiscriminatory purpose," Judge Rosemary Barkett wrote for the majority.This likely will not be resolved soon enough to make things right in Florida in November 2004.
I am still looking for good reasons why someone, once they have completed their sentence, should be barred from voting or, for that matter, from any other activity.
Nate contemplates the possibility that Peter Jackson is insane.
Really, how could Jackson possibly think the theatrical versions of the LOTR trilogy is better than the extended versions? Well, they are his creations and each had its purpose.
I have had time to watch only the first disk of the extended Two Towers and if this is exemplary of the rest it is a huge improvement on a movie that I already thought was very, very good!
But, of course, this says nothing regarding Jackson's sanity just that if the studio had allowed it he could have delivered an even greater movie to the theaters.
And, based on how easy it was to sit through RoTK I don't think length would have bothered most viewers. In fact I was pleasantly surprised at how many folks stayed through the credits (though a few stood to watch them).
... a python that is almost 49.21 feet long and weighs nearly 992.07 poundsNot your average garden snake.
Via Not So Fast.
This strikes me as a pretty good reason why the current
American puppetInterim Iraqui Governing Council should definitely be interim:
Saddam's trial is unlikely to be public, according to Iyad Alawi, member of the Interim Governing Council and head of the Iraqi National Accord (mainly ex-Baathist officers who cooperated in 1990s CIA plots against Saddam). Alawi made the remarks in an interview with the London-based al-Hayat newspaper. He said there would probably be no public trial because "it is possible that he will mention names of states or persons to whom he gave money . . ."Just why would mentioning names be a bad thing?
And Alawi thinks that a bunch of thugs appointed by the US should stay in control of Iraq:
During his present visit to Lebanon, Alawi told Lebanese journalists that he opposes the call by Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani for general elections, saying "elections right now are impossible."Gosh, just when would elections be possible? When you can guarantee the results?
I can't imagine the bushies not demanding a public trial. And, for once, I'd agree with them. Star Chamber proceedings have no place in our world...not in the US and not in Iraq.
Via Kevin Drum.
Ah, a key reason why the bush administration is ready to bring Libya back into the fold:
In return for the promise to end its illegal weapons programme, the US will gradually lift its sanctions, freeing up Libya�s oil industry.Well, freeing up Libya's oil for US companies who can't go there now:
At present there are no economic relations between the two countries and Washington has a ban on US passport-holders visiting Libya without official permission. That could now end if sanctions are lifted and, judging by Bush�s enthusiastic welcome of this about-turn, it cannot come soon enough.And if bush doesn't open it soon oil companies from other countries may get all the low hanging fruit:
Dr Kantsler said several of the world's major international oil and gas companies, including Repsol, Agip of Italy, Total of France, Wintershall of Germany, and Petro-Canada, were already active in Libya.And this would not make certain bush supporters happy:
During the 1980s , US firms were producing one million barrels of Libyan oil per day and, according to a recent report, new technology could see this double. One firm which would benefit from this is the Halliburton Corporation, whose chief executive until recently was the US vice-president, Dick Cheney.Via Suburban Guerilla.
Not exactly what we might think of as the draft but the US is does not have an all volunteer army:
To many of the soldiers whose retirements and departures are on ice, however, stop-loss is an inconvenience, a hardship and, in some cases, a personal disaster. Some are resigned to fulfilling what they consider their patriotic duty. Others are livid, insisting they have fallen victim to a policy that amounts to an unannounced, unheralded draft.Congress should immediately repeal their mistake:
Congress approved the authority for what became known as stop-loss orders after the Vietnam War, responding to concerns that the military had been hamstrung by the out-rotations of seasoned combat soldiers in Indochina.In a country based on freedom, on the concepts of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness slavery must not be allowed to exist.
Update (12/29): Craig Cheslog has a good post on this. I disagree, though, with one point he makes: While the government has the right to treat our soldiers this way,... Nope, we should not grant the government any such right. The government is our servant not our master.
Via Juan Non-Volokh.
Via A List a Day.
One view of this Florida faith based prison's Daily Schedule.
More info here.
You evaluate: Fox gathers the news for you.
The bush administration could go a long ways in blunting its opposition by at minimum maintaining even the woefully poor previous levels of transparency. They, as the champions of freedom, would do even better if they broadened public access to government records and activities.
According to the Washington Post this does not appear to be the direction they have chosen:
...the Bush administration seems to be going in the other direction. The administration has been unusually successful keeping its policy deliberations out of public view, and millions of government documents -- including many historical records previously available -- have been removed from the public domain.That the bush administration appears to feel an increasing need to hide the details of its activities from the public, even after the fact, seems to confirm that there is indeed something to hide.
Via Secrecy News.
Libya has been off my radar for years and for those of us who haven't been paying any attention to Libya for a long time Qadhafi's recent fold on WMD's appear to naturally follow from Bush policy. We are wrong.
Josh Marshall points out that:
The Libya deal looks like an especially good example of the Bush Doctrine in action if you haven't been paying any attention to Libya for the last dozen years.Read his short article and the references.
And Juan Cole argues that
... the real reason Qadhafi just folded is economic. And the lesson to be drawn here is that under certain circumstances, economic pressure can work, and remove the need for war.Lesson: do your homework before locking in your evaluation of a current event.
Some of this is fascinating...makes you wonder about the folks who wipe it out. Be sure to zoom in to get the full impact!
Graffiti Archaeology [Macromedia Flash Reader]Via the Internet Scout Report
Envisioned and created by Cassidy Curtis (and a few photographer friends), this site is a "study of graffiti-covered walls as they change over time" in San Francisco. While reviled by public officials and city sanitation workers, these walls seem to come alive with a flourish, as visitors can watch these locales change over time. Currently visitors can browse through five different locations in the city. The real star of the site is the graphical interface that allows visitors to zoom in and out through the different phases of each site's respective artistic evolution. Along with this fun feature, visitors can look at each site during various transformations, giving one a sense of how each wall has been changed by a number of graffiti artists.
David Shaw, LA Times, gives us his take on media failures in 2003: Lowlights of bad press deserve more bad press (free registration required).
After hammering the New York Times Shaw goes on to find 10 other bad moments, and bad they are. Your favorite is probably on the list. Sample:
Brian Walski, a Los Angeles Times photographer since 1998, used his computer to combine elements of two photographs, taken moments apart in Iraq, into one photograph that was then published on the front page of The Times. That's a no-no. Times policy prohibits altering the content of news photographs. So The Times altered Walski's career. He was fired.Via Kevin Drum.
Well, maybe. The Philosorapter wanted us to take out Saddam in Gulf 1 but now he's not as happy as he might have been then:
So no, I'm actually not in ecstasy about Saddam's capture. It's not that I don't despise the guy, and it's not that I don't recognize how wonderful it is that he's history.Go read the whole thing to see what's bothering Winston.
Via Nurse Ratched.
The American Library Association (ALA) has produced this "toolkit" to assist librarians in managing the Internet and educating their public about how to use it effectively.
As Seth says: Worth skimming if you're interested in the topic
But not until after 9/11.
Read Jesse's piece Misplaced Priorities: Why We're Not As Safe As We Could Be.
Via Matt at Not Geniuses.
I don't condone stealing other folks property even if it is overpriced shoddy music.
The recording industry's effort to curtail online piracy was dealt a significant blow today when a federal appeals court ruled that Internet service providers cannot be compelled to disclose the identities of customers suspected of illegally sharing copyrighted songs.Well, they really can be compelled but it must now be with full due process:
Using the DMCA subpoenas, the RIAA was able to obtain the names of suspected file sharers from ISPs without filing lawsuit and without getting a judge's approval. Without that subpoena power, the RIAA would have to file suit against unnamed file-swappers in order to obtain their identities.The complete opinion is here (PDF) and provides some entertaining reading as the court hammers the RIAA. On the other hand, the court did not address constitutional issues raised by Verizon thus leaving the door open for congress to mess things up again.
NASA released the first images from the Spitzer Space Telescope today:
Launched in August 2003 as the Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF), Spitzer was renamed in honor of Dr. Lyman Spitzer, Jr, the first to propose placing telescopes in space.I like this one the best of this first batch (caution: 1.3 Megabyte image).
It's unecessary to know a damn thing about biology or anthropology to discover that Roback Morse has NO IDEA what she is talking about. Google! Yet she has the gall, the temerity, the ova to assume an air of authority as she extrapolates her ignorance into an argument for using the law to reinforce the marginalization of homsexual fidelity.Give Will's post a read and, if you can stand it, you can read Roback Morse's as well.
What is really scary is that Roback Morse's article is the first of two parts. Well, at least this will give her some time to research the second part.
Via Julian Sanchez.
Update: Kieren Healy at Crooked Timber serves up The Beast with Two Robacksand, among many other points, notes:
Morse claims that a central feature of heterosexual sex within marriage is that it is �an engine of sociability that calls us out of our self-centeredness.� If anything, the opposite seems to be the case. A long-standing idea in sociology is that as you meet someone and later marry and have children, your social network will tend to get smaller. It�s called dyadic withdrawal.
Sure, they are probably right:
In a complaint filed in federal court in San Jose, California, RealNetworks claimed that Microsoft "pursued a broad course of predatory conduct over a period of years by abusing its monopoly power, resulting in substantial lost revenue and business for RealNetworks."but I wonder what makes them think that they will have any more success then Netscape.
When I have a bit more time I'm going back here to look more pictures from China, primarily, I believe, of Beijing.
While it would help if there were a sentence or two providing context/location for some of the pictures it is still pretty clear that they are folks just like us.
Via Tim Bishop's The Midnight Blog.
Gregory at Planet Swank reviews his viewing of Return of the King here. It makes me more eager to see it.
Unhappily, I will probably have to wait until the interlude between xmas and new years.
But, I can tell you in advance that I will be disappointed by the apparent return to a quiet Shire. In the books I was at first shocked by the Harrowing of the Shire, though it was well foreshadowed, and then realized that this was both a necessary and the capstone event for the Hobbits. It demonstrated that our little friends had indeed learned from and grown as a result of their experiences and that there was some hope that the Shire, in some form, would survive in a world now permanently changed.
I can only hope that the extended version puts this back in.
Normally I avoid reading posts related to something I planned to read or view unless they are clearly marked as containing no spoilers. For many of us who have read the 4 books (the Trilogy stands on the shoulders of The Hobbit) the only spoilers have to do with what is changed from the original and I'd almost rather know about these in advance.
However, there is one possible spoiler that I'll try to avoid. If for some reason Jackson left out the scene at the end depicting the sailing of the elves et al at the end and I find out about it I just might choose to wait a really long time to see this one. That scene, reinforced through many readings, carries for me the full emotional weight of the series and emphasizes by having them physically depart from the land that the times, they have changed.
Note, I won't read any comments to this post until after I have seen the movie.
Update(later on 12/18): Scott at The Gamer's Nook has an extensive commentary including a lot of scene by scene detail. Maybe I'll have to figure out how to see this sooner then after Xmas.
But, damn, Scott also says that Jackson did not film the Scouring of the Shire. How could he do so magnificently on the rest and, in my opinion, fail so terribly with that. Even if it was never to make it to the big screen......
And another update (12/18):: Stumpjumper also liked the movie
I was totally engrossed for the entire three and a half hours. I could write a really long review explaining in great detail all of the reasons why this is the best movie to have been released in a very long time. I won't bore you. Just take my word for it: this movie is everything that you could want. Every member of the cast and crew surpasses his/her previous efforts. Every second of footage is mersmerizing. Every word of dialog is perfect. Forget the other trilogies. Go see this movie. Now.And, via Jaquandar, Greywalker has her review here. Her thoughts on the missing Scouring:
And yes, you did hear correctly: there is no Scouring of the Shire. My disappointment about this major change to the story runs very deep. I've heard the reasons for it. I accept that Jackson and his fellow script writers chose to interpret the story this way. I just think the interpretation is wrong. The hobbits returning and discovering that evil has reached its long arm all the way back to the Shire and must be vanquished on their home turf is an essential element of what Tolkien was trying to communicate.Yep, will have to get to this soon....
Jacob Levy thinks ROTK is damn brilliant.
First from Moe Freedman at Occam's Toothbrush:
I just returned from seeing the latest installment of the Lord of the Rings, and I have to say I just hated the hell out of it. It's not that I'm not a fan, I am. I've seen the first two, and loved the books as a teenager but this one was just way, way, too long.Second from Ghost of a Flea:
Peter Jackson decided to tell the story using the faces of his actors and the long, lingering close- ups go on forever.
Let's see... at 3 hours and 12 minutes I figured I would want to stretch my legs at some point but for that first two and a half hours I was completely lost in the world of the film. Rushed, yes, even at three hours plus the story is rushed and abbreviated. I have high hopes for the extended version... there are points where scenes have almost clumsily been removed. At this point, however, I am prepared to give Peter Jackson almost any leeway. If not for the last half hour this would have been the greatest film I have ever seen (and others may be happier with the last half hour).For those interested in such things the Flea also provides a link to Tolkien's views on elf sex.
Sawyer interviewing bush:
And he signaled to Sawyer he has a bit of a Rose Garden strategy in mind for the campaign:Yep, fund raising takes a lot of time.
�early in the process there�ll be all kinds of pressures to respond to this, or respond to that�
�and I just want to warn you, I�m going to do my job. I got a lot to do. As we say, the dance card is quite full these days.
Bilmon posts these from Robert McNamara's memoirs:
But for the most part, McNamara's eleven points are a pretty good capsule summary of the lessons that should have been learned from Vietnam, but which weren't -- in large part because the people now running the foreign policy of the U.S. government have never even been able to face up to the fact that we lost the Vietnam War, much less understand why we lost it.Go read them.
For doing this good deed:
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that prosecuting these medical marijuana users under a 1970 federal law is unconstitutional if the marijuana isn't sold, transported across state lines or used for non-medicinal purposes.Volokh blogger Randy Barnett argued and won this case and he provides technical details and more links here.
We need more like this:
The decision was a blow to the Justice Department, which argued that medical marijuana laws in nine states were trumped by the Controlled Substances Act, which outlawed marijuana, heroin and a host of other drugs nationwide.No, what we really need is for the myriad local, state and federal drug laws to be eliminated.
Immune to what? The same thing as the police in the last post: wasting their time (not worth much) and ours with laws that should not exist in the first place.
Nick at Hit & Run tells us about Rep. Doug Ose's (R-Calif.) current important legislation:
to increase the FCC's infamous seven dirty words to eight (by doubling up on versions of "asshole").Ose is not alone in his concern nastiness on the airwaves:
No grammatical novice, Ose wants to ban noun forms as well as "verb, adjective, gerund, participle, and infinitive forms" of the words too terrible to speak. Ose is pissed--excuse me, peeved--that U2 frontman Bono got away with saying "fucking" during the Golden Globes Award broadcast a while back.
The FCC's enforcement bureau ruled that Bono's utterance was neither indecent nor obscene because it did not describe a sexual function.These critters need to spend more time at home relaxing instead of worrying about our sensitve ears. Get rid of the rules/laws and let folks use the tuner to listen to whatever makes them happy.
Sens. Ernest F. Hollings (D-S.C.) and 11 Republicans, including Pete V. Domenici (R-N.M.), introduced a resolution last week blasting the FCC's ruling on Bono.
Nick closes his post with this question:
Question for all you amateur lawyers out there: Would it be illegal to go on TV and call Ose a fucking asshole who's wasting everyone's time with shit like this?I don't know about the legality but I do know that the expletives whether used as above or by Bono add no value to the discourse so why use them in the first place.
Alex Knapp is right on with this:
Don't the cops in Cleburne have anything better to do with their time? Well, don't get me wrong--I don't really blame the cops. They're just doing their job. It's whoever assigned them to the damn job that deserves the blame.He is referring to this story from Cleburne, Texas:
A Texas housewife is in big trouble with the law for selling a vibrator to a pair of undercover copsYou'd think Texans would have learned something from Lawrence v Texas (PDF). On the other hand maybe this one will go to the supremes as well and they will eliminate another bunch of laws that are both unconstitutional and unacceptable in a free country.
On the lighter side my first reading of Alex's post had me wondering about the context of this police scam: were they raiding an adult products store? Or what?
You guessed it! I'll bet both husbands and wives might find the demonstrations quite interesting:
For the past year, Webb has sold the company's line of vibrators, gels, lubricants, strawberry-flavored nipple cream and "edible passion puddings.'' The merchandise is offered for sale in private, Tupperware-style parties to women who may be reluctant to visit an adult novelty store.I wonder if these sales folks use any special techniques to maximize audience participation.
Update (12/16): Howard Bashman has been covering this in detail and I learn from him that we don't need this case to go to the supremes as there is already an Alabama case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Go check out Howard's posts.
I hate seeing a preview in the theater only to be hammered at the end with a release date 6-9 months away.
I only want to see previews for something that I might go see next week or next month. Really, that is the time frame I am interested in knowing about. That is my decision window....what is the next movie I'm going to see.
Nevetheless I enjoyed the trailer for Spiderman 2 and will probably watch it a couple more times if for no other reason than to imagine that Mary Jane may learn what she wants to know. But I am also very unhappy that I will have to wait almost 7 months to see the movie.
Via Scott at The Gamer's Nook.
Many of these do not look all that different from traditional designs that I have seen in my father's or my closet.
But they certainly might make it easier to tell that someone that you have just been diagnosed with..well, take your pick.
Or to wear full disclosure when you are out . Of course, it will look a little wierd if you are a multiple carrier.
Via the Apostropher.
This little goodie may soon have folks looking for an improved model for 2004:
Suspend disbelief: Imagine he is an actual person. When you conduct a comfortable, natural conversation, you will find the experience more rewarding. AI Bush is always ready for interaction. AI Bush often has his own ideas for the conversation, so if you don't get the response you want, rephrasing and being persistant sometimes get results.Well, most of us have had at least 3 years practice with the suspend belief bit and many still haven't quite been able to accept the idea w is real.
AI Bush conversations contain a fair amount of current and biographical info that sometimes makes him think he is the real life George W. Bush. Responses that are actual quotes of Geroge W. Bush are included in quote marks.
AI Bush is more than willing to enter into discussions about college days, youthful exuberance, family matters, business deals, political correctness, assorted pastimes, various favorites, grammar issues, economics, or national and international politics.
And, as a major enhancement, AI bush can learn new things and will, thus, run circles around the current model. Perhaps AI bush will challenge w for the Republican nomination.
Go download it now.
As Phil at The Speculist says: "George W. Headroom?".
I am happy to hear that Saddam is no longer running loose.
Perhaps we can now move on to capturing Osama bin Laden.
Go read this US News & World Report article now.
This penchant for secrecy and withholding information from the public, from the very public they are supposed to serve, is a severe failure of the bush administration.
We need open governments (if they are to exist at all) and informed citizens.
An online Nintendo simulator...done in java and preloaded with a bunch of your old favorites. Note, it may have some hooks in it that make it prefer IE.
Via Gregory at Planet Swank.
Remember those peddlers we got rid of in the last post? Well, their more traditional counterparts are working on some new techniques to help us part with our hard earned cash:
A company in Atlanta is scanning people's brains with MRIs, in an effort to record our subconscious thoughts about products and ads.The Emory University School of Medicine is performing some neuromarketing research and a Nader outfit called Commercial Alert is demanding they stop:
The process has been dubbed neuromarketing. It's being hailed as a giant leap in the science of selling. But the technique is also raising some concerns.
Commercial Alert and prominent psychology experts sent a letter today to Emory University President James Wagner, requesting that Emory stop conducting neuromarketing experiments. These medical experiments on human subjects are unethical because they will likely be used to promote disease and human suffering.Apparently they are using Emory as a trial balloon as this specific type of research is a wordwide phenomena.
Tyler Cowan thinks the concerns are overblown:
Furthermore the worries are overblown. Let's say we found such a buy button and that corporations could use that knowledge in their ads. Would it really shift the marketing balance of power in favor of sellers? Over time I would expect buyers to compensate, as the knowledge would not stay secret for very long.And a Forbes article archived by Commercial Alert agrees:
The rational response to the injection of brain waves into Madison Avenue is that it will neither revolutionize marketing nor make us consumer slaves. It will, rather, yield incremental benefits. "The human brain is the most complicated thing in the universe," says John Van Horn, a research associate professor in psychology and brain sciences at Dartmouth College. "It would be arrogant to say we could stick someone in a machine and understand everything."And, really, you and I and everyone else is looking for the same magic button all the time...we just don't have the money to fund focus groups or use MRI machines.
If Witnesses, Mormons, and other evangelists, such as mobile phone salespeople, provided some notice then things would be different. Forewarned, you could answer the door wearing a Charles Manson T-shirt, carrying a copy of Aleister Crowley's The Book of the Law in one hand and a dead chicken in the other, with Alice Cooper's Welcome To My Nightmare blaring out of the stereo. Or you could answer the door dressed as a Teletubbie, gently cradling a tissue box full of chopped liver. Either strategy would work.There more, enjoy.
Via The Pagan Prattle.
Krim tells us that
Patents are granted for inventions deemed unique, useful and non-obvious, and the system has periodically yielded curious inventions, such as a diaper for pet birds.There are some types of patents that have only sprung up in the last 20-30 years:
Software patents, for instance, can protect a single line of code that tells a computer to do a specific task.Most of these types of patents should never have been issued.
Internet method patents, meanwhile, allow companies to protect broad ways of doing business on the Internet, rather than a specific product or its underlying technology. These controversial patents include Amazon.com's method of "one-click" shopping and the use of online shopping carts.
Apparently the Patent Office has a huge backlog of applications and argues that they need more money and more staff to get them processed. There is an easy way to reduce the flow of applications and thus get a handle on the backlog: simply stop issuing these types of patents.
The familiar regulatory coupling of arrogance and ignorance has forced her to take attention from her proper concerns - her business and her life - and focus them on trying to straighten out interlopers as clueless as they are powerful.Stories like this make me wonder once again why we have not risen up and smashed the IRS and its ilk. Yes, I am angry about this at the moment.
There is an update on this story at Tegan's place. This sounds really broken and I am still angry.
Oh, and if any of you know anything about a federal inventory tax would you, if possible, point to references. I couldn't find anything at irs.gov and don't believe that there is such a thing at the federal level.
The comment thread at Hit & Run has some info on the tax law but I have yet to see a clear discussion of the specific law and why and how it applies here. And, yes, I'm still angry. Let's get rid of the IRS.
Warning: not work friendly and possibly offensive to some of you.
Many of you may not be inclined to check out Playboy's choice of
....the 50 most memorable images from the magazine's glorious photographic history.
Via A List a Day.
Here's a game for you to try out: Sober Santa. The more he drinks the drunker he gets but if you don't keep him drinking the game will end. And, I haven't been able to get him to eat any sobering pie yet.
Jane Galt looks at the stock market bubble of the late '90s and why so many supposedly bright folks lost their nest eggs. She proposes, in essence, that some nifty (in some applications) evolutionary programming overpowered our supposed rationality:
Seriously, think about the way evolution has programmed us to learn.There is a lot more so head on over and check it out.
We are, by nature, fearful beings. But fear will only get you so far in this imperfect world, and so nature has also equipped many of us with a modicum of courage and a taste for novelty. Those people try new things. If disaster doesn't ensue, they try them again. If that works out, they do it a third time. Each time they lose a little more fear . . . and a few more, slightly less courageous people are encouraged to try it, having seen it work for the "thought leaders". After the eighth or twentieth repetition, the entire tribe is eating pterodactyl steak or riding railroads or investing in the stockmarket.
We are programmed to lose a little more fear every time we are successful -- to worry less about the risks. It's a heuristic that allows pre-rational animals to function pretty well in a universe of many unknowns.
But it has its costs. And I'd argue that speculative bubbles are one of them.
Rip Rowan thinks this article is interesting but not quite on the mark:
The problem with Galt's analysis is this: stock market bubbles are not irrational. They are perfectly rational responses to perfectly rational conditions.Hmmmm, pretty hard to make rational decisions with 'extremely poor information.' While the bubble itself may have been a rational response I think Jane's argument that "investors in the late 1990's had completely slipped their cams" is pretty solid.
The rational condition is easy to understand: new, discontinuous technologies (for example, the advent of the Internet and new biotechnology possibilities opened up by the unraveling of the human genome) created an environment in which the market was forced to react to possibly revolutionary changes in the business environment with extremely poor information on the short- and long-term impacts of those technologies.
I have had a severe case of blogger's block for the last day or so. I've read lot's of great posts, learned some new things, found interesting new blogs, made notes about a couple things to write about, and, when it comes time to write, nada! Nothing!
Just easier to go do something else.
eccchhhhh. Maybe it is all the non blogging things that are piling up at the moment.
Anyway, stay tuned.
Nope, we don't need Goodyear or any of the myriad of other named blimps to get cool aerial photos. Just get out your kite and that expensive digital camera and you will have it covered.
Well, you will have it covered if you are Scott Haefner. Check out his Kite Aerial Photography site.
Seattle folks will enjoy these unique views of Seattle Center and Gasworks Park.
Via Tegan at Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog
Please do not forget that there are issues with electronic voting machines that must be resolved before these machines can be trusted.
Ask for audited open source software and clear paper trails now.
Perhaps not in the commercial airline business:
In the mid- to late 1990s, when Boeing should have been raking in money as airlines clamored for new aircraft, its screwed-up production lines instead lost millions of dollars on each aircraft.This Slate article paints a potentially gloomy picture for the once dominate company.
That's just one reason why Boeing finds itself the current poster child of bad management.
Via the Talking Points Memo.
Oh, and the extended version of Return of the King will be really long....the theater version is 3 hours 15 minutes.
Via Ryan at Dead Parrot Society.
Rush and his attorney seem to think that Rush is special:
Earlier, Limbaugh's lawyer accused Palm Beach County prosecutor Barry Krischer of having political motives for investigating whether Limbaugh bought painkillers illegally.Apparently they live in a different America then the rest of us. I encourage them to visit the courts and jails that process and imprison the millions of Americans who have been victimized by the so called war on drugs.
"They are looking to publicly embarrass him and affect his radio program," Roy Black said on NBC's "Today Show." "Why is Rush Limbaugh the only person treated like this in America?"
Me, right now I am looking for the extended version of The Two Towers to climb to the top. It will be the 3rd Jackson movie that I've seen. The first two were Fellowship of the Ring and the short form Two Towers. And soon, perhaps, the last of the Trilogy will make its case. But there is a new challenger.
I have paid no attention to Jackson's earlier work and today find out that at least one person thinks his early movie Dead Alive is his best:
Come to think of it, "Dead Alive" and "Lord of the Rings" can both be read as a young man's quest for power through knowing the truth. Call me perverse, but as far as I'm concerned, "Dead Alive" is Jackson's most personal and convincing work. "LOTR" is more about father figures, where "Dead Alive" is about Mom. And for all the visual splendor of "LOTR," it seems to me that Jackson connects much more with the Evil Mother than with warring fathers. In any case, "Dead Alive" is certainly my favorite of his movies.For those of you who aren't familiar with this movie you might want to note the following before heading to the video store:
I don't want to spoil the film for you, but let me say that unless you're as fond of zombies as I am you probably shouldn't see the movie on a queasy stomach. It's one of the most extreme splatter movies I've ever seen.I don't think I'll be watching with my wife.
Via Michael at 2blowhards.
Update: I suspect Wookie and Missy do not want to meet the samurais anywhere.
There may not be any more blogging here today.
Power has been out in our neighborhood since 6:15 AM and we have no positive indication as to when it will be back.
Reading by candle light will be fine but I haven't figured out how to use those particular photons to reach the internet.
For your reading pleasure check out the recently updated folks at the top of the blogrolls in modulator's right and left sidebars.
From Betty Bowers. They are good for a few chuckles but some of you may not find all of them humorous.
Do you have someone on your list who claims, with no apparent acquiescence to plausibility, that women routinely enter his hotel rooms without summons or discussion and spontaneously have sex with his irresistible 48-year-old body, leaving him without any charge or clue as to what has occurred?
For Neil Bush: A laminated "Do Not Disturb" sign for your hotel door, dear.
Yea, I know this is the 3rd list in a row. It's just the way the day has been going.
Reason Magazine pays tribute:
...to some of the people who have made the world a freer, better, and more libertarian place by example, invention, or action. The one criterion: Honorees needed to have been alive at some point during reason�s run, which began in May 1968. The list is by design eclectic, irreverent, and woefully incomplete, but it limns the many ways in which the world has only gotten groovier and groovier during the last 35 years.I found this one most entertaining:
John Ashcroft. If Donny and Marie Osmond were a little bit country and a little bit rock �n� roll, the current attorney general is little bit J. Edgar Hoover and a little bit Janet Reno. Whether it�s prosecuting medical marijuana users, devoting scarce resources to arresting adult porn distributors, or using tax dollars to create USA PATRIOT Act propaganda Web sites, Ashcroft has managed to create an unprecedented coalition of conservatives, liberals, and libertarians around a single noble cause: the protection of civil liberties.Via AnarCapLib.
Just to balance the last post here is a list of 25 albums that should not have been released.
Oh, and the number 1 album is:
1. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band Soundtrack (1978)Scott has some commentary on the selections.
(Note: This is NOT the Beatles album. This is the 'soundtrack' to the film based on the album. The Beatles, in no way, shape, or form appear on this album. So, relax, okay!)
Jesus . . . H . . . Christ. Where does one begin? Could it be Barry Gibb's testicle crunching voice? Could it be the fact that Peter Frampton was asked to play a lead role? Could it be that Steve Martin sang a version of "Maxwell's Silver Hammer"? Could it be that George Burns moaned and groaned his way through a version of "Fixing a Hole?"
It could be any one of those! And more!!!
The number one pick: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. RS opens their discussion with:
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is the most important rock & roll album ever made, an unsurpassed adventure in concept, sound, songwriting, cover art and studio technology by the greatest rock & roll group of all time.Folks who were not present when this album hit the airwaves may disagree but I won't argue the choice. There is plenty to nitpick among the next 499.
Slightly changing the subject, this list speaks to recorded work which is something different then what a band presents in live performance (aside from the lip synchers).
If the list was the 'N Greatest Bands of All Time' then a bands live work would play a significant, perhaps dominant, role in the ranking.
Today, I listen primarily to recordings of live performances and seldom play the 100s of studio albums and cds (many from the above list) in my collection. The studio work while often technically superior too often lacks the energy, emotion and creativity that good live bands bring to the stage show after show (yea, the best live bands often blow it).
And, to pick on some live performers a bit, doing the same show over and over isn't going to rank you very high. Also, thumbs down to the 'supergroups' that tour once every 2, 3, or 4 years and repeat the same show 20 times...they have lost their creativity.
Mark Kleiman has finished Quicksilver and writes about it. Worth reading no matter where you are in the Quicksilver Process. Me, I'm in hiatus at 180 pages...back to it soon.
The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, much maligned on certain talk radio spews, has stood up for the citizens of the US in ruling unconstitutional portions of the 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. See How Appealing and Talkleft for details.
Years ago, when time seemed unlimited, I read Harper's Magazine frequently.
Maybe the material that shows up on their new site will lead me back to reading the magazine more often.
Jaquandor brings you the The Twelve Thank-You Notes of Christmas.
Surely she knows we should be
reading someone's blog working instead of exploring even one of these 30 games.
A prison officer was sacked for making an allegedly insulting remark about Osama bin Laden two months after the September 11 attacks, an employment tribunal heard yesterday.If this is as described in the article it is just rediculous.
Colin Rose, 53, was told he had to go because, although he did not know it, three Muslim visitors could have heard his "insensitive" comment about the world's most reviled terrorist.
David Carr suggests:
Just in case Mr Rose happens to be reading this, he should memorise and repeat the following statement:
"Osama bin Laden is merely the poor, desperate victim of oppression and social injustice".
With sufficient sensitivity training, I am quite confident that unpleasantness of this nature can be avoided in the future.
Also, Wired has a lengthy article subtitled The inside-out story of how a hyper-paranoid, pulp-fiction hack conquered the movie world 20 years after his death..
All of this, of course, happening just prior to the 12/25 opening of the latest Dick film adaptation: Paycheck.
Via Planet Swank.
Joe Wilcox, a Washington, D.C.-based Jupiter Research senior analyst, doesn't see TheSpoke as a threat to other blog services, but rather as a tool for Microsoft to win support from young software developers who might otherwise choose to work on projects that compete with Microsoft.According to Technorati a dozen plus folks have blogged about this service. FWIW, I looked at 5-6 of the Spoke blogs and none of them show up in Technorati so this is a pretty new effort and appears to not have linked into the larger community yet.
"While there is a blogging component, TheSpoke is not a blogging site. Creating this kind of community is a longstanding Microsoft approach, particularly when it comes to building relations with developers," he said. "Considering that academia is fertile ground for Mac and other Unix and Linux development, Microsoft is wise to provide alternative resources like TheSpoke, where student developers can gather and build a community."
Welcome to these folks.
As one who believes unflinchingly in maintaining an Internet free from government regulation, I believe that IP-based services such as VOIP should evolve in a regulation-free zone.This is the same guy that recently supported the implementation of the broadcast flag and willingly accepts it as his duty to use regulation to push the implementation of HDTV which may be nifty high quality but, nevertheless, should be left to find its own way in the market. We will either embrace it or ignore it.
No regulator, either federal or state, should tread into this area without an absolutely compelling justification for doing so.
Something that could bring the development of VoIP to a grinding halt is this push (requires free registration) by the FBI and the Justice Department to have the FCC assure that they will be able to eavesdrop on our VoIP calls:
The FBI and Justice Department want the FCC to classify Internet-based telephony as a traditional telecommunications service, which would subject it to federal laws requiring carriers or software companies "to develop intercept solutions for lawful electronic surveillance."It is time to just say no to these folks.
Update (12/3): For more on the FCC's VoIP forum see The Knowledge Problem.
In 2000 George W. Bush campaigned across the country telling voters: "My opponent trusts government. I trust you."Go read the rest of why David Boaz thinks bush may be headed for election problems.
Little wonder that some of his supporters are now wondering which candidate won that election.
Via Crescat Sententia.
I spent little time at Blogshares as I didn't want to get hooked into another time sink...why spend time at something if you aren't going to try to do it well.
Nevertheless I'm sorry to read of their demise. A lot of folks seemed to have fun there.
They have everything or they are a coroner and you have no idea what to get them.
Via Lynn at Reflections in d minor.
On the right side bar is the updated roll of Modulator's 21 top referrers up from 20 last month (there was a tie). Number 21 produced 10 referrals in the month of November.. Statistics are culled from AWStats running on Modulator's server at Hosting Matters.
8 blogs dropped off and 9 new ones have been added.
Thank you one and all!
Also, I'd like to acknowledge significant referrals from some of the blogosphere's 'service' sites: Technorati, weblogs.com, blogrolling.com, MovableType, Blogdex, blogoshpere.us, Sitemeter, NZ Bear's Ecosystem, Bloogz and Daypop.
All of the blog rolls except the Base Roll are ordered by most recently updated so be sure to ping weblogs.com or blogrolling.com to push to the top of the rolls. These are certainly the sites I tend to look at first and visitors will see you at the top of the roll as well.
For a brief discussion of Modulator's blog rolls look here.