January 31, 2004

Looking for a Good Encyclopedia?

Give the Wikipedia a try. Heck, contribute to it.

Dan Gilmour has an update. It is:

an encyclopedia created and operated by volunteers, is one of the most fascinating developments of the Digital Age. In just over three years of existence, it has become a valuable resource and an example of how the grass roots in today's interconnected world can do extraordinary things.

Almost anyone can be a contributor to the Wikipedia. Almost anyone can edit almost any page. (Only serious misbehavior gets people banned.) Thousands of people around the world have added their expertise, and new volunteers show up every day.

For instance, is your junior high student writing a report on weblogs. S/he could do worse then starting here. Many of you could probably find something useful to add to the entry.

Via Prestopundit.

Posted by Steve on January 31, 2004

January 30, 2004

One Child Who Was Left Behind

Ok, I haven't picked on someone's use of the english language in a long time.

From Ampersand who picked it up from Trish Wilson:

George W. Bush on January 23, 2004
The illiteracy level of our children are appalling.
'nuff said.

Well, not quite enough. Trish quotes the entire paragraph for context and w's closing sentence is:

I expect you, as mayors, to challenge the soft bigotry of low expectations. I challenge you to keep raising that bar and standards.
I probably have no hope of ever understanding what he means by 'soft bigotry' but I do know that low expectations is a problem that does permeate our culture
"Though your qualifications are quite impressive, I regret to inform you that we have selected another candidate. It was felt that your demeanor and therefore presence in the classroom would serve as an unrealistic expectation as to what high school students could strive to achieve or become.
and that setting high expectations can lead to success.

Thanks to Resurrection Song and The World Wide Rant for the pointer to the Marquis Harris story.

Posted by Steve on January 30, 2004

Machines at Work

Hmmm, would any of those well coded electronic voting machines perform like this?

Posted by Steve on January 30, 2004

Blogroll Chuckles

Part I and Part II of his 2004 Blogroll Predictions are up at Norbizness' Furry Puppy place. Keep an eye out for Part III.

Update: Part III is here.

Posted by Steve on January 30, 2004

Absentee Voting

Atrios thinks absentee voting disrupts the rhythm of a campaign:

...but more generally I really really don't like the proliferation of easy vote-by-mail. I know many disagree with me on this subject, but a campaign has a certain rhythm to it and voting weeks in advance tends to undercut that.
Well, the 'rhythm' of a campaign means little to me. I sometimes make my election decisions early and sometime the day before. When I complete the process I seal the envelope, lick the stamp and put it in the mail.

I find that I put much more effort into the process then I ever did when I headed to the voting booth especially for the minor offices.

Atrios, go to the booth if you like. I'm all for voting by mail. And will be, as well, for internet based voting when the muiltitude of security issues are resolved.

Via NTodd.

Posted by Steve on January 30, 2004

A Metalanche can Bring you Down

Apparently this Metafilter link to this game led to the site being blocked due to it exceeding its daily bandwidth allowance.

I'll give the game a try this weekend.

Posted by Steve on January 30, 2004

Morning Entertainment

If you have nothing better to do at the moment, and I hope you do, you can check out Pepsi's opening salvo in their new rock the world ad campaign.

It features Enrique Iglesias, Pink, Beyonce and Britney who "...dare to be challenged and encourage their fans to do the same." Sure they do...for a small fee of course.

While this is visually work friendly you will probably want to turn the volume up to fully appreciate the ad.

Via Ghost of a Flea.

Posted by Steve on January 30, 2004

January 29, 2004

Tonight's Closing Thought

From Paul Krugman(yea, I know some of you hate him):

Still, the big story isn't about Mr. Bush; it's about what's happening to America. Other presidents would have liked to bully the C.I.A., stonewall investigations and give huge contracts to their friends without oversight. They knew, however, that they couldn't. What has gone wrong with our country that allows this president to get away with such things?
Good Night!

Posted by Steve on January 29, 2004

Cleaning the Kitchen

For those of you with the kitchen cleaning mentality of a group of college guys rooming together Here's the good news :

Chuck Gerba, a professor of environmental microbiology at the University of Arizona who has studied bacteria in home kitchens, said that he found that people who had the cleanest-looking kitchens were often the dirtiest. Because "clean" people wipe up so much, they often end up spreading bacteria all over the place. The cleanest kitchens, he said, were in the homes of bachelors, who never wiped up and just put their dirty dishes in the sink.
Read the rest of the article for the bad news and to have a few current myths blown away.

Posted by Steve on January 29, 2004

The Fed and You

Have you been wondering about yesterday's drop in the value of your stock portfolio?

The national news gives you the shallow version: Fed changes words and values drop.

For the deep version with all the stories behind the story read Bilmon's analysis. There is more going on here then you might imagine. Here is his summary:

This means the Fed is going to have to balance the demands of some politically powerful domestic interest groups against the demands of financially powerful foreign constituencies. And as central bankers in any number of developing countries can attest, this is never an easy, or pleasant, job.
We'll all get to live through the results.

Posted by Steve on January 29, 2004

Candidates and Marijuana

Apparently NORML does not consider bush to be a presidential candidate yet as his positions on decriminalization, medical use and the HEA exclusion provision are not listed on this chart.

If this is an important issue to you then take a look at where your candidate stands on these issues. Some of them have positions that would mirror the bush position if it were included.

Via Legal Memo-Random.

Posted by Steve on January 29, 2004

More Patent Crap

Frank Weyer was awarded patent 6,671,714 which again shows the illiteracy (to be nice) of the folks at the US Patent Office.

As noted at geek.com this patent:

... describes what is essentially one of the most basic, most crucial underlying structures of the World Wide Web, namely the domain naming system.
And if not exactly the domain naming system then certainly RFC 1034 (1987) adequately demonstrates prior art (assuming stuff like this should even be allowed a patent).

It appears that this dude simply figured out how to create enough obfuscatory language to deceive the patent droids.

Via Catallarchy.

Posted by Steve on January 29, 2004 | Comments (3)


Elizabeth Lawley found this pretty funny:

Things that you can do to help protect yourself from malicious hyperlinks

The most effective step that you can take to help protect yourself from malicious hyperlinks is not to click them. Rather, type the URL of your intended destination in the address bar yourself. By manually typing the URL in the address bar, you can verify the information that Internet Explorer uses to access the destination Web site. To do so, type the URL in the Address bar, and then press ENTER.

And it is funny. Plus they apparently have forgotten about right click, copy link location, paste which is much easier and much quicker.

As I read through the knowledge base article I wondered, and still wonder, just how many users will ever read this or if they do start reading the article will get far enough to find this nifty JScript command that you can paste (not type) into your address bar (IE or Moz) to compare a sites actual URL to the URL in the address bar:

javascript:alert("The actual URL is:\t\t" + location.protocol + "//" + location.hostname + "/" + "\nThe address URL is:\t\t" + location.href + "\n" + "\nIf the server names do not match, this may be a spoof.");
If the URLs don't match you likely want to leave that site quickly especially if you thought it was your bank.

Posted by Steve on January 29, 2004

Hutton Report Perspective

Perry de Havilland has it about right:

The only thing astonishing about the Hutton report...is that so many people are astonished that a paragon of the establishment like Lord Hutton should take the view that whatever the government�s ministers say should be presumed to be correct whilst that of mere journalists, even those working for the state owned media, should be assumed to be dissembling.

Did anyone seriously think the outcome would be otherwise?

The entire report in HTML format is here. The PDF version did not download properly.

Posted by Steve on January 29, 2004

Funny Stuff & Gross Stuff

Jaquandor scored on both counts this morning.

First, the funny stuff: business at its best. Some of this stuff is pretty funny if you can get past the "how could they be so stupid" first reaction.

Second, the gross stuff: an exploding whale.

Posted by Steve on January 29, 2004 | Comments (3)

January 28, 2004

Upcoming Name Change?

Jim Henley referred us to http://www.cummingfirst.com/organ.html today.

Oh yea, it is work safe and I wonder just how soon they will change their name.

Posted by Steve on January 28, 2004 | Comments (2)

The Grannies

Will Durst presents a series of awards named after the performances recently seen here in the Granite State.


Via Asymmetrical Information.

Posted by Steve on January 28, 2004

History according to w

Both Tim Dunlop and Atrios point to this article (click through the free pass) where Joe Conason talks about w's apparent confusion about Iraq inspections:

The president was fantasizing again this afternoon about the circumstances that led to war -- and if his remarks at his press conference with the Polish president are to be taken seriously, he also seems badly confused about his Iraqi timeline.
Surely no one who has listened to bush for the last 3 years is surprised when he says stuff like this. He might even really believe he is telling the truth....

Posted by Steve on January 28, 2004

January 27, 2004

The Changing Job Market

If you are interested in issues related to jobs moving out of the US go check out this Daniel Drezner post. Lot's of links to more posts and related info plus good stuff in the comment thread.

Drezner appears to believe that this is not as big an issue as many are making it out to be. Make up your own mind.

Oh, and check out The Acorn's discussion of this Wired article. You will find a wealth of additional commentary on outsourcing and India here as well.

Posted by Steve on January 27, 2004

Watching Modulator's Navel

Modulator's 20,000th visitor arrived today (per Sitemeter). Regular readers will remember that number 10,000 arrived on October 31, 2003.

The first 10,000 took 179 days and the 2nd 10,000 only 88 days. I like that doubling rate but would be pleasantly shocked to see the next doubling (to 40,000 visitors) occur in 88 days but I do want to see happen faster then the first 20K.

Oh, and visitor 20,000 was a referral from SashaCastel.com. I don't know whether it was Sasha herself, another member of her group or some other wandering reader. Anyway, thanks for stopping by.

And, thank you to everyone else who has taken the time to visit.

Posted by Steve on January 27, 2004

ashcroft just might find Dean to his liking

I have had little to say about the current democratic aspirants and probably won't say much more until there are fewer to deal with.

However, anyone supporting a national ID card in this age of MATRIX and the PATRIOT ACt deserves a hot poker applied to some tender area of their anatomy.

Dean Campaign site:

I will nominate federal judges with outstanding legal credentials, records of professional excellence, and demonstrated commitment to the constitutional principles of equality, liberty, and privacy.
Dean in March 2002:
Fifteen months before Dean said he would seek the presidency, however, the former Vermont governor spoke at a conference in Pittsburgh co-sponsored by smart-card firm Wave Systems where he called for state drivers' licenses to be transformed into a kind of standardized national ID card for Americans. Embedding smart cards into uniform IDs was necessary to thwart "cyberterrorism" and identity theft, Dean claimed. "We must move to smarter license cards that carry secure digital information that can be universally read at vital checkpoints," Dean said in March 2002, according to a copy of his prepared remarks. "Issuing such a card would have little effect on the privacy of Americans."

Dean also suggested that computer makers such as Apple Computer, Dell, Gateway and Sony should be required to include an ID card reader in PCs--and Americans would have to insert their uniform IDs into the reader before they could log on

A national ID card seems to be contrary to any meaningful idea of liberty and privacy.

Via Metafilter.

Posted by Steve on January 27, 2004

When is a blog not a blog?

Well, how about when it hires lawyers to write disclaimers like this that you must agree to before posting comments.

The terms aren't so out of line...not that much different from what I think most of us, without writing them down, would expect. But, really, if you need a lawyer to blog you might as well stop now.

Via untelevised.

Posted by Steve on January 27, 2004

Does he mean what he says, ever?

In November 2003 w told us:

�Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe because in the long run stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty,�
This is a noble sentiment and one that would go far toward making the world a safer place if followed.

But how, then, does w explain his support for this saddam clone:

ILHAM ALIYEV was inaugurated as president of the oil-rich Muslim country of Azerbaijan three months ago after an election condemned by international observers as blatantly fraudulent. When members of the opposition tried to protest, they were brutally beaten by police. There followed a massive, nationwide crackdown in which more than 1,000 people were arrested, including opposition leaders, activists from nongovernmental organizations, journalists and election officials who objected to the fraud. More than 100 remain in prison, including most of the senior opposition activists.
Check out this report from Human Rights Watch for details.

Perhaps all this is consistent with w's undertanding of what it means to do things for human rights.

Via Randy Paul.

Posted by Steve on January 27, 2004

January 26, 2004

Some Folks Should be Downsized

Kevin Drum notes that:

every state except Nevada and Nebraska is seeing a shift from high paying industries, which are losing jobs, to low paying industries, which are gaining them.
If you haven't noticed this phenomena open your eyes.

Now, I am deeply concerned about this trend and feel badly for the people who are living this transition (and working my but off to make sure (delay?) it does not happen to me.

On the other hand there are some folks that have jobs that should not exist and I apologize in advance for wishing ill on these people. Prosecuting attorneys, federal agents, police officers and anyone else involved in supporting this kind of stuff need to be sent immediately to jobs in low paying industries. Positions as Wal-mart clerks may be too good.

The latter link is via Talkleft.

Posted by Steve on January 26, 2004

Canine Affinity Site

You and your dog may want to join in here.

If this friendly pup were registered I would definitely make him a member of my canine corral.

Via SugarFused.

Posted by Steve on January 26, 2004

Gazing at Blog's Navel

Whither blogs? is a question posed by both PinkDreamPoppies, Alas, a Blog, and Bilmon, Whiskey Bar. Bilmon writes after attending a session on blogs at the World Economic Council in Davos.

If you are interested in such things go read the posts. In the meantime here is a bit from each. First, from PinkDreamPoppies

I'll make a prediction on the future of blogging: We'll see fewer and smaller independent blogs as large, corporate-sponsored blogs eat up the readership, and in some cases the writers, of smaller blogs. And that's all I'll commit to. I think that, as Bilmon fears later in his aforementioned post, the Golden Age of free-for-all blogging is just about up.
Now Bilmon may fear this but I don't think he expects this:
I suppose the key question is whether the technology of the Internet will be enough to keep the blogs from going the way of the '60s counterculture. Rock bands and radical writers could be squelched or bought off because the corporations controlled the means of communication -- the record labels and the magazines and the major publishing houses. But while the Man can, if he wants to throw some money around, buy up individual blogs, he can't buy the blogosphere. New voices can always set up shop to replace those that move to the Dark Side.

At least that's what I hope. The potential of blogging is something I've come to believe in passionately -- as passionately as I once believed in the mission of professional journalism. I'd hate to be wrong twice.

There is more in these posts then just this. They also take a look at corporate marketing, political power, the future of journalism and more.

Oh and take a listen to The Blogging of the President 2004 where Atrios, Josh Marshall, Andrew Sullivan, Jeff Jarvis, Jerome Armstrong, Ed Cone, Gary Hart, Richard Reeves, and a few others discuss the impact of blogs on mass media and the presidential campaign. Doc Searls blogged this show live.

Posted by Steve on January 26, 2004

Teaching Math

This history of math instruction will bring both a tear and a chuckle.

Via Jay Solo.

Posted by Steve on January 26, 2004

Comment Spam

I have no use for comment spam be it prurient or political and do not assume any obligation to leave it in place.

A site that calls itself gore 4 dean dot com (not quite but I'm not blessing them with a link) incompletely states:

The main goal is to provide professional quality, grassroots produced collateral material, such as flyers, handouts, posters, handbills, etc
They left off this list the delivery of spam to blog comment threads.

Anyway, I'm deleting the comment as I would any other spam and adding them to my block list.

Posted by Steve on January 26, 2004 | Comments (1)

January 25, 2004

I Can't Sleep

This is a problem I don't have. Well, except once in a while when the waterbed heater takes some time off. Maybe someday I'll join the 32% of americans who get the recommended 8 hours of sleep on weeknights. Weekends are another story...usually good for 8-9 hours.

Posted by Steve on January 25, 2004

Buying Congress

Henry at Crooked Timber offers congratulations to Congressman Billy Tauzin a republican from Louisiana:

CT extends its hearty congratulations to Congressman Billy Tauzin (R-La), who�s demonstrating his sincere attachment to free market virtues by retiring from politics and selling himself to the highest bidder.
Well, yea, Henry is being a bit tongue in cheek. Tauzin's retirement plans (R) do have a peculiar (though common in Washington) stench.

Henry also notes that:

Needless to say, Tauzin has been assiduous in his efforts to protect the interests of big pharma and the content industry over the last couple of years; it�s hard to believe that his grossly inflated salary is unconnected to services previously rendered.
If this assessment is true, and I agree with it, it appears to directly conflict any idea of "...attachment to free market virtues..." Rather more likely is that Tauzin has dedicated himself to both protecting the interests of his suitors not the citizens he his supposed to serve andstealing money from taxing you and I and finding ways to put the proceeds, unearned, into the pockets of others. This has nothing to do with free market virtues.

There is an interesting discussion in the comment thread regarding the causes of this long standing environment of subtle and not so subtle corruption that permeates the relationship between government at all levels and the clients the goverment protects regulates.

Update (Jan 25): Also see Marx, Incentives and Liberalism at Catallarchy.

Posted by Steve on January 25, 2004

January 23, 2004

Plame Grand Jury

From Time:

Sources with knowledge of the case tell TIME that behind closed doors at the E. Barrett Prettyman federal courthouse, nearby the Capitol, a grand jury began hearing testimony Wednesday in the investigation of who leaked the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame to columnist Robert Novak and other journalists.
I'd sure like to see the results packaged up and delivered to the people well before November.

Via Atrios.

Posted by Steve on January 23, 2004

Asimov Alert

If you like science Fiction and in particular if you like Isaac Asimov you will love West Virginia University's new Asimov collection which was donated by Larry Shaver.

The 600 item collection is housed in a controlled environment and may be viewed by appointment only. This presentation of the covers of many of the books is great.

And here is a lot of related cover art and illustrations. Makes you wonder just what was on the minds of those folks back in the 20th century.

Via Metafilter where this robot generated some commentary...

Posted by Steve on January 23, 2004

January 22, 2004

A Proper Response to the SOTU

James Landrith has cosigned Jonathon Wilde's fine response to the SOTU reading:

It is a spectacle millions watch on air with tremendous involvement and pointless excitement, but is ultimately an act of fakery.

Message to politicians:

I don't want your 'strengthening of the economy'. You have screwed it up enough already.
I don't want your 'sanctity of marriage'. It's not your business.
Quit trying to define everything as right or left. The world is not binary.

Do go read the rest. His summation should be constantly visible to every politician.

Posted by Steve on January 22, 2004

The Bush Economic Development Plan

Buy ribs.

This interchange is much better then the State of the Union reading:

Remarks by the President to the Press Pool
Nothin' Fancy Cafe
Roswell, New Mexico

11:25 A.M. MST

THE PRESIDENT: I need some ribs.

Q Mr. President, how are you?

THE PRESIDENT: I'm hungry and I'm going to order some ribs.

Q What would you like?

THE PRESIDENT: Whatever you think I'd like.

Q Sir, on homeland security, critics would say you simply haven't spent enough to keep the country secure.

THE PRESIDENT: My job is to secure the homeland and that's exactly what we're going to do. But I'm here to take somebody's order. That would be you, Stretch -- what would you like? Put some of your high-priced money right here to try to help the local economy. You get paid a lot of money, you ought to be buying some food here. It's part of how the economy grows. You've got plenty of money in your pocket, and when you spend it, it drives the economy forward. So what would you like to eat?

Q Right behind you, whatever you order.

THE PRESIDENT: I'm ordering ribs. David, do you need a rib?

Q But Mr. President --

THE PRESIDENT: Stretch, thank you, this is not a press conference. This is my chance to help this lady put some money in her pocket. Let me explain how the economy works. When you spend money to buy food it helps this lady's business. It makes it more likely somebody is going to find work. So instead of asking questions, answer mine: are you going to buy some food?

Q Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: Okay, good. What would you like?

Q Ribs.

THE PRESIDENT: Ribs? Good. Let's order up some ribs.

Q What do you think of the democratic field, sir?

THE PRESIDENT: See, his job is to ask questions, he thinks my job is to answer every question he asks. I'm here to help this restaurant by buying some food. Terry, would you like something?

Q An answer.

Q Can we buy some questions?

THE PRESIDENT: Obviously these people -- they make a lot of money and they're not going to spend much. I'm not saying they're overpaid, they're just not spending any money.

Q Do you think it's all going to come down to national security, sir, this election?

THE PRESIDENT: One of the things David does, he asks a lot of questions, and they're good, generally.

END 11:29 A.M. MST

I agree with Eugene Volokh that bush is actually handling this interchange well. We should not discount the possibility that Stretch is not a member of the press corps but rather a local alien. Perhaps bush should retire now to Roswell.

Posted by Steve on January 22, 2004 | Comments (1)

What is the Fiscal 2004 Defense Budget?

If you were paying attention back in November you answered $401 billion as approved in the Defense Authorization Bill.

Robert Higgs would like us to think a little more inclusively. He argues that the true cost for fiscal year 2004 is closer to $754 billion.

Via Damn Foreigner.

Posted by Steve on January 22, 2004

Where's that Corruption

The Corporate Crime Reporter has ranked the 50 states by their rate of corruption.

Then there is the state wannabe The District of Columbia

We calculated the District�s corruption rate as 79.33. This is more than ten times what Mississippi�s corruption rate is......

But we didn�t include the District in the list for one obvious reason � the District is the seat of the federal government, and because of this, there are more criminal prosecutions for public corruption than anywhere else in the country.

It can be said that the District is the most corrupt political entity in the nation � but that�s only because it�s the seat of an apparently actively corrupt federal government � with 453 public corruption convictions over a ten-year period.

Even though there are some deficiencies in the data (noted in the full PDF report) this is an interesting indicator of the quality of government officials.

Via A List a Day.

Posted by Steve on January 22, 2004


As I mentioned last Sunday I have been working to wrap up a volunteer project.

Well, it took through yesterday to get the bulk of it done and this has consumed all available time outside my real job. I made a presentation last night and will hand it off to new 'owners' in 3-4 days.

Blogging will move back to its regular pace over the next couple days...it will take a bit to catch up on what you all have been talking about.

Luckily I have undoubtably missed most of the commentary on w's state of the union reading.

Posted by Steve on January 22, 2004

January 20, 2004

What else to do at 9:00 PM EST

Hesiod has some recommendations for those who might want different television programming during w's performance.

There is also: turn the damn thing off and read a book, hug your spouse, talk to your kids, etc.

Being a bit of a masochist I'll probably have it on the radio as background to whatever else I might be doing then.

Posted by Steve on January 20, 2004 | Comments (2)

Technorati Beta

I like and use Technorati a lot. And I know that I'm going to use it even more when the new Beta version moves to production mode.

David Sifry has an update here. One of the items is this:

1) Much faster indexing - the median amount of time it takes from when someone posts something on their weblog to when it is captured and searchable via our live database is 7 minutes.
which I will test with this post.

Update: an hour later. It is slick and it is fast and it is beta. It took a little less then an hour for this post to get picked up. The one above was picked up at the same time. At David's site this post showed as occurring an hour later then actual (showed the update time as when his spider read the post and not the time of the post though this may result from there not being a time stamp on my posts) and it picked up two entries for Hesiod's site...one from some days ago.

Posted by Steve on January 20, 2004

January 18, 2004

Day Off

Today has been a day away from blogging (both writing and reading) as I wrap up some volunteer work.

I should be done with that sometime tomorrow and after taking in a movie I'll be back here.

Posted by Steve on January 18, 2004

January 17, 2004

Conspiracy Theories

On Saturday nights ABC replays episodes of Monk, the entertaining USA series. Tonight's is a repeat but my wife has not seen it so it is on while she falls asleep reading and I browse a few blogs (I should have done some links for you...there is, as usual a lot of good stuff out there).

A key clue that Monk has focused on the right person as the culprit is that the guy sat quietly at his desk (he was proctoring a Saturday morning SAT exam) as all the students jumped up an ran to the windows when a car alarm went off. This was unnatural behavior and would be for you and I in similar circumstances.

At the same time this was playing on Monk I was reading the following?:

...while the 9/11 attacks were occurring, the entire top of the chain of command of the most powerful military in the world sat at various desks, inert.
Well, my reaction each time I have read about this has been incredulity. That is not how I would expect them to behave. Is this proof that they knew in advance about the attacks? No. But, please then, explain their behavior.

Susan at Suburban Guerilla asks whether Michael Hasty's call to paranoia in the above article is persuasive. He certainly lines up a long series of allegations and evidence and but the lack of citations, while perhaps not appropriate to the medium in which the article appeared, would make his arguments hard to accept by someone not familiar with all the items.

Especially when some of his arguments include things like:

...the US House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations concluded that the murder of John Fitzgerald Kennedy was "probably" the result of "a conspiracy,"
and then fails to tell us that the committee was referring to a conspiracy involving Oswald and a few others and that:
In terms of its implications for government and society, an assassination as a consequence of a conspiracy composed solely of Oswald and a small number of persons, possibly only one, and possibly a person akin to Oswald in temperament and ideology, would not have been fundamentally different from an assassination by Oswald alone.
So, he doesn't appear to have everything just right and he would have been much more persuasive if he had ended with a bold Wake Up People before he takes his argument over the edge by rolling out the Bush as Hitler meme.

Posted by Steve on January 17, 2004

Airport Abbreviations

What is the origin of those 3 letter airport abbreviations? Some make sense and many seem non-sensical. At least until you understand their origins.

City names, airport names and sometimes the original name of an airport. Get the whole story here.

Via Languagehat.

Posted by Steve on January 17, 2004

Atkins Revision

In tomorrows NYT this article (R) will tell you:

...the director of research and education for Atkins Nutritionals, Colette Heimowitz, is telling health professionals in seminars around the country that only 20 percent of a dieter's calories should come from saturated fat. Atkins Nutritionals was set up by Dr. Robert C. Atkins to sell Atkins products and promote the diet.
But I don't think Atkins dieters will be too stressed since "...a person who eats 1,500 calories a day could eat a 17-ounce strip steak every day."

As best I can tell this is a fairly modest revision all things considered. They are still talking 60% of your calories from fat so substitute some chicken and fish if you are eating more then 17 ounces of red meat a day.

Posted by Steve on January 17, 2004 | Comments (1)

January 16, 2004

Photo Friday

Motion is the subject of today's Photo Friday. I liked this one from the Blue Orchid Journal.

Posted by Steve on January 16, 2004

Around the Blogroll

Deb is unhappy with whoever stole her food from the refrigerator at work. This is the first I'd heard of Skinny Cows.

Jaquandor contemplates headless chickens, replacements for Britney (a regular series) and ER.

Brian Micklethwait, having nothing better to do then surf the normally unwatched digital end of British TV, found and watched part of an interview with a woman whose secretly filmed undergarments are apparently now circulating on the web. Brian now regrets not watching more of the interview and contemplates what the rules should be regarding this tyupe of filming.

Tim Dunlop recommends this title for David Kay's new book:Still haven't found what I'm looking for. Well, these guys all publish a book don't they.

Josh Marshall notes that Richard Perle confirms that Drudge's and the WSJ's ($) latest hack at Clark's Iraq postion are pure bs.

Posted by Steve on January 16, 2004

Not for my Sherriff

The opponent telling him to drop out looks right on:

A candidate for Denton County sheriff who posted faked pictures of "friends and supporters" on his campaign Web site has replaced them with pictures of animals.

The original series of pictures on John Dupree's site showed people in various settings holding signs supporting the Republican candidate. They were taken from Web sites that offer generic photos of people holding up blank signs, Dupree said.

Dupree said his webmaster told him the fake pictures were being used as placeholders until they could be replaced with pictures of real supporters. The webmaster didn't think to include a disclaimer, he said.

If this wasn't just an 'innocent' mistake this guy doesn't have the sense or the ethics to be anyone's sheriff. And, his webmaster(s) should get a permanent note in their resume that they screwed up royally as well.

Via Charles Kuffner.

Posted by Steve on January 16, 2004

January 15, 2004

Visualizing Science

Some of these java applets will be fun for you to play with even if you do not understand the underlying math or physics.

Via Boing Boing.

Posted by Steve on January 15, 2004

Rental Car Blues

More often then not folks renting cars are in a hurry. For instance, your plane just landed and your luggage is waiting, etc., so you do not read all that fine print in the contract and, of course, the fine customer service rep working with you has likely been trained to only say things that might maximize revenue. What happens next?

Well, Dan Gillmor tells us

about a man who was charged more than $3,000 for a car rental because he took the car out of state without realizing that would violate his contract. How did Payless, the rental company, know? It was using satellite-assisted tracking equipment to spy on the customer.
The original article is here.

The charge of $1/mile for driving outside the state of origin is surely excessive. I do not even understand the logic of the charge. And it is not nationally common. Example, fly into Cincinnati I mean Kentucky to go to Cincinnati. I have done this quite a few times and not been charged anything extra.

Sure, the guy should have read the contract. But I argue that failure to disclose and explain potential extra charges in big print on the front page may be deceptive given the context of the typical rental transaction.

And, the Oregon proposal (mentioned in the comments) to use GPS to calculate your driving miles as a basis for taxes is just broken before it gets out the door.

Posted by Steve on January 15, 2004 | Comments (2)

Get Serious

The Professor has this right!:

More generally, we keep electing politicians (on both sides of the aisle) who once used - or, for all we know, still use - recreational drugs. Once they get into office they perpetuate the so-called war on drugs, with all of its racism, unfairness, and failures. Why do we put up with it? It is time to have a serious debate about legalization without all the posturing.

Posted by Steve on January 15, 2004 | Comments (1)

Card Trick

This ESP exercise has been around for a while but if you haven't done it before it can be pretty entertaining....have you figured it out yet?

Via Tegan.

Posted by Steve on January 15, 2004 | Comments (3)

January 14, 2004

So You Want to be Secretrary of the Treasury

Brad Delong details, and I mean in great detail, what O'neill or any future candidate for this position should do to establish their role and notes that with regard to O'neill:

O'Neill did none of the things that he needed to do in order to get Robert Rubin's job. Why not is unclear. He did suffer from CEO disease--that is, after a decade of everyone who works for ALCOA telling him that he is a genius and that every one of his words is pure gold, he did believe it and could not readjust. He sent his deputy to ask if O'Neill could attend the 7:30 White House senior staff meeting, but apparently thought it beneath his dignity to ask himself (or to just show up).
Pretty good stuff.

NB: I note, though, that given the reality of the bush administration O'neill could have followed Brad's guidelines to the T and it likely would not have made an iota of difference.

Posted by Steve on January 14, 2004

Skipping Stones

Want to break the world record:

Jerdone Coleman McGhee of Wimberley, Texas, holds the current Guinness Book of World Records title for a 1992 toss that yielded an impressive 38 bounces across the Blanco River in central Texas.
Then here is what you need to do: toss the stone at greater then 25 miles per hour with a spin of 14 rotations a second and assure that it enters the water at an angle of 20 degrees.

The article does not talk about the impact of wind and water conditions.

Posted by Steve on January 14, 2004

Quicksilver Companion

Those of you who have read or are reading Stephenson's Quicksilver might also want to read Carl Zimmer's Soul Made Flesh. PZ Myers reviews the Soul Made Flesh here:

The book is a fascinating combination of history, philosophy, biography, and science. And by "science", I don't mean the plain recital of observations and inferences, but the process of grappling with the evidence, testing hypotheses, and deriving new and better explanations. I'll be assigning Soul Made Flesh as required reading next time I offer my neuroscience course.
and provides a comparison of the two here:
After all, both describe the same period of intellectual ferment, and both make it clear that it was not a good thing to be a dog in England in the last half of the 1600s.
Oh, and Myers has also posted the most titillating picture of the week. Read the caption here.

NB (1/18): Corrected Zimmer's first name.

Posted by Steve on January 14, 2004 | Comments (3)

January 13, 2004

Mammalian Embryology

Sit down when you have some time and review this tutorial on Normal and Abnormal Mammalian Development. It is both interesting and informative:

The 3-D like quality of the micrographs coupled with selected line drawings and minimal text allow relatively easy understanding of the complex morphological changes that occur in utero. Because early human embryos are not readily available and because embryogenesis is very similar across mammalian species, the majority of micrographs that are utilized in this tutorial are of mouse embryos. The remainder are human.
There is nothing hard here and I don't understand why students coming out of elementary school do not have a understanding of this material at this leve l(other then it is not presented to them).

Via Metafilter.

Posted by Steve on January 13, 2004 | Comments (1)

Fiscally Responsibility

The Angry Bear takes leave of his normal home to take a walk on The American Street and deliver this piece on comparative fiscal responsibility and the revenue impacts of bush's tax cut.

The results do not look good for the current administration especially when joined with Kash's piece previewing the budget for the next 5 years.

Countering views anyone?

Posted by Steve on January 13, 2004

Microsoft Popups

Wendy McElroy wonders if the reason Internet Explorer does not block popup ads is because MSN charges for this service.

Posted by Steve on January 13, 2004 | Comments (6)

Journalism or Editorializing

In Part IV of his series Toward a Field Theory of Journalism Andrew Cline discusses the epistemology of journalism:

... and any answer I offer here is necessarily general and incomplete.

That said, we may observe that journalism operates with an objectivist epistemology: What is real is located in the material world and human actions within that world. What can be known are empirically verifiable phenomena. We are connected to the material world by our senses and certain faculties of the mind, which are capable of perceiving the world through sense impressions and then thinking about, and acting upon, these impressions.

Journalism's challenge in this epistemology is to perceive the world correctly and then represent perceptions correctly through language.

This also seems to provide a good set of criteria for separating journalism from editorial opinion. While both often appear in the same publication journalism at least attempts the following:
Because it is empirically verifiable that humans disagree about events (our opinions), reporters collect data from "both sides" and present these data without comment, allowing readers to apply their own reasoning to discover the incorrect opinion versus the correct representation of events.
Editorial/opinion content attempts to substitute the writer's reasoning for that of the reader.

One of our challenges as we apply our own reasoning to journalism is to evaluate the quality of the data being presented and to ascertain whether the data has been inappropriately passed through editorial/opinion based filters.

Yesterday's post Orchestrating Emergencies suggests that the OMB/White House tend to do the latter rather then provide the citizenry with information that would meet journalistic standards.

Posted by Steve on January 13, 2004 | Comments (1)

Phishing Expeditions

Jim Henley alerts us to someone trying to scam info from Paypal users. Beware and do not respond to these types of phishing spam.

Similar attempts imitating Citibank and Bank of America are also making the rounds right now.

Posted by Steve on January 13, 2004

January 12, 2004

Orchestrating Emergencies

Now this will really make me feel safer:

Under a new proposal, the White House would decide what and when the public would be told about an outbreak of mad cow disease, an anthrax release, a nuclear plant accident or any other crisis.

The White House Office of Management and Budget is trying to gain final control over release of emergency declarations from the federal agencies responsible for public health, safety and the environment.

Undoubtably this will lead to more results like this:
In the same release, a section that said, "Even at low levels, EPA considers asbestos hazardous in this situation" was deleted and replaced with a section that read, in part, "Short-term, low-level exposure of the type that might have been produced by the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings is unlikely to cause significant health effects."
Do you really want Karl and w deciding on the language and timing of emergency press releases?

There might be a bit more merit to a few aspects of this part of the OMB proposal:

The OMB also wants to manage scientific and technical evaluations - known as peer reviews - of all major government rules, plans, proposed regulations and pronouncements.
I would not want OMB micro-managing peer reviews for each agency but it might be reasonable for them to set guidelines for the agencies to use. The guidelines should be consistent with standards and practices of the relevant scientific disciplines and should probably include a requirement something like: no more then 1/3 of the peer reviews can be done by scientists employed by businesses involved in the area being studied.

Via Metafilter.

Posted by Steve on January 12, 2004


You may have seen calendars of a more or less naughty variety hanging on the wall of your mechanic's office or work area. Well, maybe not as these somewhat naughty ones may have been an artifact of the days when every service station had mechanics working in their garage.

The corporate mission of Pirelli is:

Pirelli's business is centered on the key markets of Tyres, Energy Cables and Systems, Telecom Cables and Systems and Real Estate, in which we are among the world leaders and innovators.
You probably know them best from their "tyre" business. They have a marketing calendar.

And their 2004 calendar is not The Thing to all:

I must be getting old. There�s no way I would even bother to hang the latest Pirelli calender in my workshop.
Allan shares their September 2004 (NWF) picture as an example.

Looking at the calendars (there are a few years of back issues at the Pirelli site) makes me think that either Italian mechanics/cable layers have slightly different aesthetic bents then their US/Australian counterparts or Pirelli is targeting a different audience.

I think the calendar is pretty neat and while I couldn't hang it in my work office I'd certainly consider hanging it in my home office.

Posted by Steve on January 12, 2004 | Comments (2)

Excuse Me

But, could someone help me with the history that backs this up:

George W. Bush tells New Yorker writer Ken Auletta: "No President has ever done more for human rights than I have."
Auletta's story should be up at The New Yorker tomorrow.

Via The Gamer's Nook.

Posted by Steve on January 12, 2004

Helping with those Govm't Budgets

Number 5 on Alternet's list of the Top Ten Drug Stories of 2003 is this:

5) The FBI's annual Uniform Crime Report reveals that police arrested an estimated 697,082 persons for marijuana violations in 2002, or nearly half of all drug arrests in the United States. This amounts to one marijuana-related arrest every 45 seconds.

The total number of marijuana arrests far exceeded the total number of arrests for all violent crimes combined, including murder, manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault.

Hmmm, I know this math isn't perfect but with a swag: decriminalize marijuana use and sales and then lay off 1/3 of local, state and federal law enforcement employees.

Or, put them to work doing something that actually helps to protect our lives and property.

Additional fringe benefits: reduced load in judicial system and increased housing available in the prison system.

Posted by Steve on January 12, 2004 | Comments (2)

Heinlein, Science Fiction, Space Travel, Utopia and More

Back in time, before the new year, Patrick Hayden made a brief mention of a book review including a short quote from the review.

And that post took on a life of its own with the discussion, now 161 comments, still ongoing.

Hey, if the title subjects got you this far you will want to spend the time (and it will be more then a few minutes) reading that comment thread. As Eric Burns says:

The discussion is fascinating because of the sheer plethora of authorities contributing to it. Scientists, futurists, fans, literary critics -- there's something of everything in it, and the content of the discussion is unusually high for the web.
Oh yes, the review was of Heinlein's first novel, unpublished until now, For Us, The Living.

Full disclosure: I have not read it yet.

Posted by Steve on January 12, 2004 | Comments (2)

It's a Wonderful Life

This photo of Toronto reminded me of the movie It's a Wonderful Life.

Photo is from the daily dose of imagery. There are many other cool pictures at this site...check'm out.

Posted by Steve on January 12, 2004

January 11, 2004

Extraordinary Rendition

No matter your politics you should be outraged by this:

That's all they had: guilt by the most remote of computer- generated associations. But, according to Attorney General John Ashcroft, that was more than enough to justify Arar's delivery to Syria's torturers.

Besides, Ashcroft added, the torturers had expressly promised that they would not torture him.

Our intelligence agencies have a name for this torture-by-proxy. They call it "extraordinary rendition." As one intelligence official explained: "We don't kick the s -- out of them. We send them to other countries so they can kick the s -- out of them."

This secret program for torturing suspects has been authorized, if that is the right word for it, by a secret presidential finding. Where the president gets the authority to have anyone tortured has never been explained.

Read Maher Arar's story here.

Brad Delong thinks this is worth an impeachment and Brian Weatherson wonders how many conservative bloggers will condone this behavior and thinks that the perps should at minimum spend time in jail.

I'll go along with Brad on the impeachment idea.

Posted by Steve on January 11, 2004

Ignore the Evidence?

Richard Perle produces a jewel:

Two of President George W. Bushmilitary advisors said that the US inability to find illegal weapons in Iraq means little.

"I don't think that you can draw any conclusion from the fact that the stockpiles were not found," Pentagon advisor Richard Perle said...

Hmmm...many of us might think that you can draw some conclusions like: 1) there were not any stockpiles and 2) it is more likely that the administration really did lie when justifiying the war.

Posted by Steve on January 11, 2004

January 10, 2004

Trashing Paul

Earlier today Kevin Drum warned:

BETTER DUCK AND COVER, PAUL....{snip} But then there's this:
O'Neill, who was asked to resign because of his opposition to the tax cut, says he doesn't think his tell-all account in this book will be attacked by his former employers as sour grapes. "I will be really disappointed if [the White House] reacts that way," he tells Stahl. "I can't imagine that I am going to be attacked for telling the truth."
He's got to be kidding. After all this time is he really that clueless about the kind of people he's dealing with?
And just a few minutes ago from Hesiod:
IT'S STARTING: Drudge has a preview quote from a "White House source" attacking former Treasury Secretary, Paul O'Neill.

The White House got its "side" of the story into the Washington Post before O'Neill's interview with Leslie Stall airs on "60 Minutes" tomorrow night.

Good. I hope they piss Paul off even more, and he starts saying all sorts of "crazy" things.

The upcoming week could be a lot of fun.

Posted by Steve on January 10, 2004

January 9, 2004

Cat and Little Mouse

I can't say it any better then Rebecca so here is the way she put it:

When you come right down to it�

They sunbathed together and shared meals of raw meat, dead mice, fruit and bread.

�that is what love is all about.

Posted by Steve on January 9, 2004 | Comments (1)

Comfort Levels

Yep, the Cookie Monster level works well for me too.

Posted by Steve on January 9, 2004

Special Item for the Cat Bloggers

Here is the Cat Seat.

Via The Presurfer on 1/4. Sorry, no permalinks.

Posted by Steve on January 9, 2004

The Moon and Beyond

I'm all for this idea:

President Bush will announce plans next week to establish a permanent human settlement on the moon and to set a goal of eventually sending Americans to Mars, administration sources said last night.
If I'm going to be taxed I'd certainly rather have the money go towards something like this instead of tobacco subsidies or misadventures in Iraq.

Via Kevin Drum who suspects the WMDs may have been hidden on the moon.

Posted by Steve on January 9, 2004

Willie Nelson Sings

For you Wilie Nelson fans mousemusings has put up an MP3 of his new tune, Whatever Happened to Peace on Earth.

Posted by Steve on January 9, 2004

January 8, 2004

The Ingraham Perspective

On the way home from a basketball game tonight I had the opportunity to spend a few minutes with Laura Ingraham who had this to say:

We need to take the country back from the elites!

Bush is an elite!

I wonder why it took her so long to figure this out.

Posted by Steve on January 8, 2004

Drug Benefits for Seniors Corporations

Skimble quotes generously from this WSJ article and I give you just this little bit:

The program is supposed to encourage employers to retain prescription-drug coverage.

But companies are entitled to the subsidy regardless of how much of the cost they pick up themselves. As a result, it does nothing to halt the current rush by some employers to shift more costs to retirees.

In fact, benefits consultants are designing employer-sponsored prescription plans to save companies more money by unloading costs on their former workers without losing out on the new subsidy.

It makes me feel just so good to know that whatever part of my taxes is not going to support a Nevada swimming pool is going to help the bottom line of some government supported corporation.

Via Sisyphus Shrugged.

Posted by Steve on January 8, 2004

The Next Enhancement

Rob Schapp, who posted litely in December, is back in fine form with a modest discussion of the latest trends in sexual modification and a prediction on some of the upcoming spam we will see.

Via Tim Dunlop.

Posted by Steve on January 8, 2004

More on WMDs

Skippy notes that Colin Powell:

...staunchly disagreed with a private think tank report that insists there are no wmd's to be found in that country.
I'd like to remind you what Colin Powell said in February 2001 about UN Sanctions:
And frankly they have worked. He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors.
Iraq was a threat to who?

Posted by Steve on January 8, 2004

Academic Blogging

Professor Bainbridge quotes at length one Dean's thoughts on blogging, scholarship and tenure:

Bottom line: While no replacement for writing articles and books, and no one is going to get tenured or promoted through blogging (at least not today); but what I've called a serious blogger would get a big plus on the positive side on the ledger from me when it gets to merit review time! Failing to reward it would be failing to recognize that blogging is not just another new communication medium; it is a new way to do scholarship.
The Dean also recognizes something many of you are experiencing. Blogging can absorb huge amount of time:
That being said, just reading blogs - let alone writing them - can be entirely too much fun, and could suck time away from the grind of in depth writing and research. In fact, I should be massaging my footnotes instead of writing this. I'm also advising my juniors not to get blog-happy.
Read the rest and for those interested in delving deeper there are links to a couple long discussions.

Posted by Steve on January 8, 2004

Arwen & Aragorn

Or is it Barbie & Ken?

They are number 18 on Amazon's list of hot new toys and are being out paced by a myriad of transformers and Leapster software items. Number 1 is this personal video player.

Via The Gamer's Nook.

Posted by Steve on January 8, 2004 | Comments (1)

January 7, 2004

Why there are cold viruses

According to this there is potentially a really good reason for cold viruses to be around. Never mind the sniffles:

"Viruses are seen as unhealthy organisms, but we have identified a potential way they can be used by the body to fight and destroy disease."

In the method, the virus is injected into a malignant melanoma, then replicates itself and starts killing the cancer.

Researchers expect the melanoma to shrink within weeks and eventually vanish. At the same time, it is expected the virus will circulate through the body, seeking and destroying other melanoma cells.

Note that an article in The Age says:
Australian researchers are "extremely excited" to have discovered that the bug that causes colds - the coxsackievirus - is an efficient killer of melanoma cells.
Now I don't know what is different between Australians and the rest of us but in the US coxsackievirus most commonly shows up as Hand, Foot and Mouth disease and infrequently as colds which are most often caused by rhinoviruses.

Posted by Steve on January 7, 2004

Texas Redistricting

Stephen Green notes:

The reason the court didn't rule on the wisdom of the Republican plan, is because the plan didn't have any.
While it had no wisdom the plan's gerrymandering goals were clear. But these goals have been shared by Democratic majorities in the past and James Joyner reminds us that the process is not inconsistent with current practice:
So, while unusual, the 2003 re-redistricting was the first legislatively created one ratified by the courts.
Steven Taylor has it right on redistricting:
Having said all of that, I am increasingly of the opinion that an entirely different system of districting needs to be developed that would do away with conscious partisan districtcraft, and would lead to more competitive elections.

There is no doubt that across the country whichever party is in charge has drawn the lines to their advantage to the detriment of seriously competitive electoral contests in many, many districts. The only good news is that voters don't always cooperate with the best laid plans of mice and legislature, and vote the way they want.

Stephen Bainbridge also wants to see an end to redistricting partisanship:
My own hope is that eventually we will say "enough is enough" and get rid of all this partisan gerrymandering in favor of a nation-wide system of nonpartisan redistricting designed to maximize the number of competitive seats. But I'm not holding my breath.
We would probably pay much less attention to this type of thing if our representatives (at all levels) did not dabble in this kind of stuff (link via Zombyboy).

Posted by Steve on January 7, 2004 | Comments (3)

Warning Labels

These are both funny and a sign of the times:

A five-inch fishing lure which sports three steel hooks and cautions users that it is, "Harmful if swallowed," has been identified as one of the nation's wackiest warning labels in an annual contest sponsored by a consumer watchdog group.
Go read the rest.

Via second place winner Alex Tabarrok.

Posted by Steve on January 7, 2004

January 6, 2004

Stripper Chic

I guess it is possible to have some trends pass you by if you are not watching closely.

And I have apparently missed out on stripper chic:

Of course, for many girls who buy it, stripper-inspired fare isn't actually about disrobing in public or even having sex but about cultivating what writer and sexpert Susie Bright calls "the essence of titillation," a coy yet brazen, look-but-don't-touch sexual persona.
I guess mostly because I haven't done any of these things:
Teenagers of the new millennium have grown up watching college students give lap dances on MTV's The Real World; they've listened to Christina Aguilera's album Stripped; they've taken cardio strip class at the gym, perused the mall for thongs and flavored body glitter, played video games that feature strippers on their Xboxes and GameCubes, and watched endless music videos for which strip clubs and the denizens thereof provide the mise en sc�ne.
Alison Pollet and Page Hurwitz detail many aspects of the marketing of stripper chic goodies to teens and preteens.

What message is your junior high daughter sending with her latest outfit?

Posted by Steve on January 6, 2004 | Comments (1)

Drug Money

In Calgary, drug money is at the heart of gang violence:

Greed and infighting between members of a large Asian street gang over drug money splintered the group, leading to a spate of Calgary shootings, stabbings and at least two murders in the past 13 months.
I wonder if these street gangs and their counterparts in the US have lobbyists working to stiffen existing drug laws?

Via The Media Awareness Project.

Posted by Steve on January 6, 2004

John Perry Barlow

Has a blog. Link it now. Read it regularly.

Barlow is one of the good guys. He cofounded the Electronic Frontier Foundation in 1990 and continues to be active as its Board Vice-Chairman. You can find some of his writings here.

Oh, and he is a damned good lyricist.

Via Lynn Kiesling.

Posted by Steve on January 6, 2004 | Comments (1)

McCrackin Reassigned

In November I called for the firing of Goose Creek principal George McCrackin. You may remember him as the man responsible for this.

Now, via Drug WarRant, I learn that he his no longer at Goose Creek:

Floyd has not decided to what position McCrackin will be reassigned, but he said McCrackin would probably spend time in the coming weeks preparing for two lawsuits filed by students stemming from the incident.
While this is a step in the right direction I still believe that this is a person that has no business being anywhere near or involved in education.

Posted by Steve on January 6, 2004

Apple Goodies

Zombyboy has details of today's announcements at MacWorld Expo.

Posted by Steve on January 6, 2004

January 5, 2004

New Year Resolutions

I don't do them anymore.

But, the proprietor of A Moveable Beast does and has already tackled 6 of them.

Your task is to pick the 6. Perhaps she worked on number 14 on New Years Eve.

Posted by Steve on January 5, 2004 | Comments (1)

Tort Reform and Thimerosal

If you haven't been over to Wampum in a while now is a good time. Dwight Meredith has some informative posts on the facts of tort reform here and here.

And how about that Bill Frist: working hard for his constituents Eli Lilly.

Via Planet Swank.

Posted by Steve on January 5, 2004

January 4, 2004

Mars Landing

Scott just reminded me that Spirit has landed on Mars and is communicating. This is what the landing spot looks like. More pictures at NASA.

I just read Mars Crossing by Geoffrey Landis. Based on the above picture he did a great job of capturing the Martian Terrain.

Posted by Steve on January 4, 2004

January 3, 2004

Customer Service

I try to avoid McDonalds and the other fast food folks. Michael Jennings, though, has found a good reason to return to McDonalds:

But I was quite amused by this outcome. McDonald's really do encourage their employees to provide the best possible service to customers. They really want to make a good impression so that customers return. This will increase their profits, oddly enough. In this instance an employee was so determined to provide me with good service that she found a way within the company's rules to give me my food, even though it was my fault that I did not have enough money with me, and although the rules didn't initially appear to allow it, and even though I wasn't even remotely upset, it being my fault after all. I was impressed.
I've always had pretty good service at the fast foods but this is clearly exemplary.

Maybe it is just a British thing...anyone have similar stories from the US?

Posted by Steve on January 3, 2004 | Comments (10)

Top Colorado Blogs

Congratulations to Walter in Denver and Talkleft for being selected by the Rocky Mountain News as the top 2 Colorado weblogs.

Posted by Steve on January 3, 2004

December Top Referrers

On the right side bar is the updated roll of Modulator's 21 top referrers (there was a tie). Numbers 20 & 21 produced 9 referrals in the month of December. Statistics are culled from AWStats running on Modulator's server at Hosting Matters.

There was less churn in December as 6 blogs dropped off and 6 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.

Posted by Steve on January 3, 2004