July 29, 2004

A Day at the Beach

Actually, almost 4 days at the beach. Yes!!

Last year there was no net access available and I suspect that has not changed.

See you all Sunday night!

Posted by Steve on July 29, 2004

Blogging Defined

WOLF BLITZER: So, Fafnir and Giblets, what IS a blog?
FAFNIR: Blogs are the future Wolf.
GIBLETS: Yes! They are MADE of the future! We extract the future's pure temporal essence an squeeze it into cables an modems an T3 lines it becomes a blog!
F: A blog... of the future.
WB: How much thought goes into your "web blog" "posts"?
F: Oh we do not think at all when we post! That would defeat the entire purpose!
G: Blogs must be spontaneous intant reactions to the lightning events of the everyday! Giblets fires up a random news article, pounds his head against the keyboard several times, an hits the "publish" button for the purest of pure blog posts!
F: Otherwise you are not truly flowin in the electric consciousness Wolf.

Read the rest at Fafblog!

Posted by Steve on July 29, 2004

July 28, 2004

Carnival of the Capitalists

Is up at the Business Opportunities Weblog. Whether your political economic stance is left, right or orthoganal the collected posts should provide plenty of mental stimulation.

There's money and sex, socialism and capitalism, health care and much, much more.

Via Catallarchy.

Posted by Steve on July 28, 2004

Karl Denson's Tiny Universe

No, this is not a physcis thing.

However, you may think you used to live in a tiny universe after you have spent an hour or two in the grip of these musicians. Small venues and up close are best.

I really enjoyed their performance at Bumbershoot last year and wish this relatively short set was amongst the over over 100 shows available for download or streaming at the Internet Archive.

If you like the music burn some copies for yourself and your friends, attend a show next time they are in your area and, yes, buy a CD or two.

And, while you are at it, thumb your nose at the RIAA and its albatross clients.

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

You Have Kept Those Papers, Haven't You?

Huh, what papers? Your archives, of course.

For some of you these may now be all electronic but for those just a bit older most will still be paper based: copies of letters written and received, journals, photos, school papers, etc.

This geologist who recently Looked back at buried treasure reminded of this and the fact that I am tempted daily by the boxes of papers and other archival materials scattered about the house:

The hidden gems of my portfolio were definitely the reflections. Reading these gave me a chuckle. It was nice to see that as I progressed through high school, the writing quality (and the handwriting) improved dramatically.
Everyone remembers disecting in high school, whether you enjoyed it or not. I definitely enjoyed it. The lab was fairly standard. It had diagrams with organs that the student had to identify, along with basic questions that involved looking inside the rat. In fact, when I sniffed the paper, I can still smell traces of the formaldehyde where the rats were stored at. Ah, the memories!
Yes, the memories and the history. Save your archives. If not for you then for that child, grandchild, nephew, or ?, who will be absolutely fascinated by the treasure.

Via Tangled Bank #8 and Pharyngula.

Posted by Steve on July 28, 2004

Spend, Spend, Spend

Some will say big deal others will say w can do no wrong:

The White House will project soon that this year's federal deficit will exceed $420 billion, congressional aides said, a record figure certain to ignite partisan warfare over President Bush's handling of the economy.

The annual summertime analysis is expected out this Friday, said several congressional aides speaking on condition of anonymity Tuesday. That would be well after the frequently ignored legal deadline of July 15.

Showing an exemplary respect for the law of the land:
White House budget office spokesman Chad Kolton said the report will be issued when it is ready, and offered no date.
I wonder how this would work on the street:
Drug War Jackboot: You are under arrest for growing and possession of marijuana!

Drug War Victem and Cancer Patient: But my doctor gave me a prescription.

Drug War Jackboot: Tough!

Drug War Judge: Twenty years! You must obey the law.

Sure, there are a lot of laws that should be ignored. However, if you are the Whitehouse and the law applies to you then you really should set a good example.

Posted by Steve on July 28, 2004

For Classical Music Lovers and Other Interested Parties

Yesterday Arts Journal launched a 10 day blog called Critical Conversation:


If the history of music is the recorded conversation of ideas, then where do we find ourselves in that conversation at the start of the 21st Century?
The conversationalists are a dozen of the "top classical music critics in America" (YMMV) and based on the early posts the discussion might be pretty interesting.

Of note, also, is the description of this blog as a 10 day blog. A short finite lifetime to have a snapshot discussion of a particular idea. And you can join in via comments.

Another aspect is that while the blog may build interest in and traffic to Arts Journal with this short life the blog will not have any focus on building long term traffic and relationships to itself.

All in all a pretty nifty idea for.

Posted by Steve on July 28, 2004

July 27, 2004

Atrios? Revisited

Jaquandor wonders a bit why Atrios has not said something about being outed. And he is not the only one. the talking dog talks:

Atrios finally "outed" (if he really is Bryn Mawr professor Duncan Black... unless THAT is some sort of misdirection too...) and...
Well, I remember some preconvention comment by Atrios along the lines of puzzling over what would make reporting from the DNC interesting. Ahhh, here is a bit from that post:
So, anyway, hopefully it'll be fun for me but I don't know quite how to make it fun for you. I have some ideas, but I won't really know how well they'll play out until I get there.
To quote Jaquandor: Hmmmmmm.

Posted by Steve on July 27, 2004

Where Shall we Have Lunch Today?

How about a school lunch? Sounds about right.

Via Steven Taylor.

Posted by Steve on July 27, 2004 | Comments (2)

July 26, 2004


For those of you interested NPR now has RSS feeds.

Via beSpacific.

Posted by Steve on July 26, 2004


Atrios is no longer anonymous.

Jeralyn Merrit has, with his permission, posted a picture of Duncan.

And there are pictures of other bloggers at the DNC here.

Update: Kevin Drum points to this group photo that includes the once elusive Atrios and other left bloggers.

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

Wasting the People's Resources

This kind of speaks for itself:

The Kentucky crime labs have actually eliminated a backlog of drug cases that have plagued our courts for years.

The six crime labs have handled 16,000 drug cases since January and no cases older than 60 days remain.
The six labs in the state have 140 analysts and support staff to handle cases from about 400 law enforcement agencies.

Their caseload nearly doubled from 20,700 in 1989 to 40,000 in 2003.

A lot of these cases also had to be sent to private labs to enable them to catch up.

But just in case it does not, contemplate these same resources being applied to health care or infrastructure projects or tracking down perpetrators who have actual committed a crime against someone else or simply leaving the money in the hands of the taxpayers it was taken from to make a local decision on how the money would be best used.

Via MAP Inc.

Posted by Steve on July 26, 2004

To Blog, or Not to Blog

Both a long time and a short time blog friend are having some second thoughts about their participation in the great conversation.

Yesterday Rick at Radically Inept opens with:

I think this will be the final post to this blog. As I've been blogging the past few months, I've come to realize, that by and large, it's a self reinforcing circle. The people that read blogs, well, it's largely limited to those that have the education to read, and the where with all to have a computer. It's really a very small percentage of the population. And people generally only read what they already agree with.
He followed up a bit later with:
The previous post was going to be my last, but I went for a three hour walk, and besides picking up some serious blisters, I found some inspiration.
I'm beginning to feel the joy that comes with activism.
Today, Zombyboy at Resurrection Song says:
When I started blogging, it was for a very few reasons:
1. I thought that my opinion was worth sharing and that writing them out in the best manner possible would possibly be interesting for others.

2. I like to have my thoughts challenged by people I respect, and I expected to have lively, intelligent debates with people of a wide range of views. I didn't blog just to share my thoughts, but to help form my thoughts by forcing me to reconsider many of my stands.

3. I thought it would be fun.

What I saw in the potential of blogs was the possibility of the greatest exchange of knowledge and ideas in the most egalitarian way that the world has ever seen. Maybe, someday, it will get to that point.
As I said, I'm not ready to hang it up, but I am ready to re-think the site. I don't know exactly what that means, but I do know that if I don't find some personal satisfaction in the thing, I will give it up soon.
Yep, there has to be some fun in any activity that we undertake and there is a lot of work involved in Zombyboy's first two reasons for starting to blog. Even enjoyable work can be wearing and if accompanied by unthoughtful feedback (read the rest of Zombyboy's post) hard to continue.

Rick and Zombyboy may be experiencing just a bit of blogger burnout. We have our ups and downs in our various plays all the time and as another blog friend recently said:

You wanna write, you write. You don't wanna write, you don't. There are no obligations here, unless you're one of those rare people who gets paid for expressing their opinion on this here IntarWeb thingumabob.
That's the way it works. Something nudges the noggin and opinions spill out. "Burnout"? Give me a break. You're just taking this stuff too seriously.
I probably take all this too seriously as well however it will be a lot more fun and interesting if Rick and Zombyboy's opinions continue to spill out on their blogs.

Posted by Steve on July 26, 2004

This Land...

Well, this JibJab production which was all over the net last week has gone national. Friday night Tucker Carlson ended Unfiltered with a showing and the NYT (Reg) has picked it up.

If you have not seen it yet head over and take a look. It is a laugh riot for anyone even remotely interested in the US Presidential election.

Posted by Steve on July 26, 2004

July 25, 2004

Keeping Track of You

You are being monitored:

It's hard to travel incognito these days. As you go about your business, you leave a trail of data for others to collect, merge, mine, analyse and even sell, often without our knowledge or consent. And we are increasingly subject to electronic or visual surveillance, often without our knowledge or express consent.
At the bottom of the linked article is a hypothetical one day data capture timeline. Read it and be comforted....

I take a pretty basic position on personal information privacy. All information gathered by any entity about an individual must be kept private unless the individual specifically authorizes the release of that information. No exceptions. Penalities for unauthorized disclosure should be high.

So, with the above constraint, I think it is just fine for Safeway to keep track of my buying habits and, if they have my permission, to disclose this information to third parties.

And, no, I do not think it reasonable to grant governmental entities an exception to this. They should have to get my permission to disclose information that they have gathered.

Thus, none of these entities, government or private, would get to disclose information in response to any kind of subpoena without the target individuals permission.

Meanwhile, use cash when you can.

Posted by Steve on July 25, 2004

Still Looking for Their Precisous

Last Week the House of Representatives continued to demonstrate that they are focused on things important by spending time on H.R. 3313 (PDF) which is also known as The Marriage Protection Act of 2004.

Now, to my untrained eye, it appears that there is no basis in the constitution for congress to even be considering any issues related to peoples living arrangements. But, that aside, Josh Chafetz makes it clear that the approach hastert and company are trying to use is itself unconstitutional.

Posted by Steve on July 25, 2004

Revenge of the Toolbars

Why browse when you can toolbar?

Via Circadian Shift.

Posted by Steve on July 25, 2004

July 23, 2004

Movable News

Martin Tobias reports from Blogon about today's announcement of Movable Type 3.1 due in 3 months. MT 3.1 info should be up on the Movable Type site Saturday.

Six Apart presented the winners of the MT Plugin contest. Many of you use MTBlacklist and the brief overview suggests that you will be very happy with version 2.0 which won Jay Allen a nifty $7000 desktop system.

Posted by Steve on July 23, 2004

Friday Surprise?

Though I suspect that there are few who even raise their eyebrows at this disclosure:

WASHINGTON (AP) � The Pentagon on Friday released payroll records from President Bush's 1972 service in the Alabama National Guard, saying its earlier contention the records were destroyed was an "inadvertent oversight."

The two computerized payroll record sheets cover July through September of 1972, when Bush was working as a campaign volunteer in Alabama. The future president had been transferred from the Texas Air National Guard to the Alabama unit so he could stay in Alabama.

Surely you never believed that this stuff was lost or destroyed. This is all a matter of the administration decided when they will release material.

Oh, Thomas over at The Gadflyer notes:

Bush�s payroll sheet apparently shows that he logged NO flight time during this period when he was working on a Republican Senate campaign.
I don't think this is that big a deal as, if memory serves, he was actually suspended from flying beginning 8/1/72 because he had avoided taking his required physical for some reason.

It will be interesting to see what the folks who have studied the bush record in depth have to say about what this release adds to our understanding of bush's performance.

Via Pacific Views.

Posted by Steve on July 23, 2004

It is time...

...to read Respectful of Otters! Powerful. Also, be sure to read the supporting material that Rivka links.

Abortion is a complex issue. Rana notes in the first comment to the above post:

And that, in a nutshell, explains why black-and-white, one-size-fits-all decisions and laws do an injustice to our complex, complicated realities. Thanks for the reminder, expressed so beautifully!
Which is a pretty good reason to eliminate 98-100% of local, state and federal legislative activity.

Via Electrolite.

Posted by Steve on July 23, 2004 | Comments (8)

Live Strong


Wear Yellow! Order wrist bands at the Lance Armstrong Foundation. They are currently backordered but order now!

Update (8/28/04): Changed the word 'here' to Lance Armstrong Foundation.

Update (9/28/04): The Lance Armstrong Foundation is again taking orders for bracelets with a delivery lead time of 3-4 weeks. Go place your order!!

Update (02/11/05): Lance will be on the Oprah Winfrey show today. Check your local listings for time and channel.

Update (07/02/05): The 2005 Tour has started! Order your LIVESTRONG wristbands from the the Lance Armstrong Foundation now. Buy 10 or 100 and give the extras to others. If you can't afford to buy them yourself join together with some friends to make your contribution.

Posted by Steve on July 23, 2004 | Comments (622)

July 22, 2004


Our tax dollars at work or enlistment benefits:

...members of all four branches of the U.S. military can get face-lifts, breast enlargements, liposuction and nose jobs for free -- something the military says helps surgeons practice their skills.
Uhh, if they need practice and don't have real work to do I'm sure there are plenty of emergency rooms that could provide more appropriate practice for a military doctor.

On the other hand, there are plenty of combat injuries that will eventually require skilled plastic surgery as part of the recovery process. But, again, working on real victems of trauma would seem a more appropriate training ground.

Via Classical Values.

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

July 21, 2004

As Seen on TV

No not really. But this new news aggregation site was spotted this afternoon at Resurrection Song and Wizbang.

The proprietor offers that:

NEWSFEED is for bloggers, news junkies, commentators, drudgereporters, and all who take interest in the wild world of news reporting. 1,000s of news sites, culled every day for the most interesting reading. News for bloggers. News for junkies.
Try it. You might like it.

Posted by Steve on July 21, 2004

nader a republican now?

Bilmon asks:

Which leaves me with just two questions, really: When did Ralph switch sides? And why?
Read the post.

Posted by Steve on July 21, 2004

July 20, 2004

Everything Changed?

Point 14 of the things Mark Kleiman recently learned at an Executive Session on Gang Violence opens with:

14. On the other hand, gang violence accounts for more deaths each year than were killed on 9-11. Thinking about getting ready to think about it isn't really a satisfactory response.
Why hasn't this changed everything?

It is pretty clear that the policies of local, state, and federal governments over the past 100 years have not fulfilled the government's obligations to the people. Perhaps it is time to make some fundamental changes in these entities to get them refocused on serving the people's rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness rather than the faction de jour.

Posted by Steve on July 20, 2004 | Comments (1)

Just Wondering Why....

We have the complete set of Harry Potter books in our library. Two copies of some. And eagerly await the next volume.

But, I'm not quite sure who needs the Latin or Ancient Greek versions of Harry Potter and the Philospher's Stone. Are they being published as teaching aids, or...?

I suppose the Latin version of Harry Potter might be a bit more absorbing to today's young students than Cicero's Orations was to me some years ago.

Posted by Steve on July 20, 2004 | Comments (3)

July 19, 2004

A Real Home Internet Service?

One may be just around the corner for some of you. Verizon will be offering a new internet service in a few geographic areas beginning later this summer:

A 2mbps to 5mbps Fios connection will cost $35 a month if purchased along with Verizon's local and long-distance telephone service. The service will cost $40 if purchased alone. A connection of up to 15mbps is available for $45 a month if purchased as part of the same telephone service bundle, or $50 alone. The company did not reveal pricing for the 30mbps plans.
Heck, I pay nearly $50/month now for Comcast 3 Mbps service. It will be great if Verizon is able to agressively roll this out in many markets as it will put price/performance pressure on the cable companies and help drive skinny band DSL to it demise.

Posted by Steve on July 19, 2004


Suspension seemed like such an innocent word. I usually think of an automobile's suspension system, particles floating in a fluid, or somebody getting a 5 day suspension from school.

Now suspension will always conjure up images like this (warning: disturbing!).

Apparently suspension is a fairly common activity in the body modification subcultures. There is even a FAQ.

But to show that there may not be much new under the sun in the realm of human wierdness they also have some background material.

Via Obsidian Wings.

Posted by Steve on July 19, 2004 | Comments (5)

Highway Stuff

How many times have you been driving down a highway and suddenly wondered, gosh, what does the end of this highway look like? Maybe never, right? But if you have then Froggie just might have a picture to answer your question (especially if you live in Minnesota).

Perhaps you'd rather see the exit signs for a highway. Well, he has a bunch of those as well. And there is more.....

Like he says: everyone's gotta have a hobby (some are just a little cleaner than others).

Via Incoming Signals.

Posted by Steve on July 19, 2004 | Comments (1)

July 18, 2004


Kevin Drum looks for the cause of the large increase in compensation received by CEOs of large companies (undefined):

Is this the free market at work? That's what I'm told. So I have a contest in mind: a prize for the least laughable explanation for why CEO pay has gone up 7x since 1980 based on supply and demand. At a minimum, winning entries should explain the following:

*Why the supply of CEOs has decreased.

*Why the demand for CEOs has increased.

*Why the elasticity of the CEO demand curve is apparently steeper than for any other commodity on the planet.

The comment thread to Kevin's post will provide lively discussion about his questions and the apple and orange comparisons that led to them.

I do suggst that Kevin find some different economic advisors if he is being told that this is the free market at work. There has never been one of those in the US and currently the US economy is extensively, but not completely, directed by local, state and federal government law.

Certainly it appears that many CEOs are overcompensated compared to the average worker and some of these CEOs should probably be spending some time in jail like thieves of all income levels. However, Kevin would do better arguing from specific examples within specific industries than using incomplete and misleading generalizations.

Posted by Steve on July 18, 2004 | Comments (1)

TV Creativity

Kudos to Fox for pointing out the obvious:

NBC and ABC have accused Fox of stealing their ideas, and Fox has fired back, saying it's just part of the game.
Lawrence Lessig suggests that this copycat activity will make for better shows:
Competition over derivatives only makes the derivatives better.
I suppose there is something to this argument. Especially when considering the starting points:
NBC won the rights to "The Contender," a reality show about boxing. Two months later, Fox launched a similar show called "The Next Great Champ."

ABC has a program called "Wife Swap," in which two wives switch houses. Fox then launched a series called "Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy."

And who can forget "Popstars" and "Making the Band," which all came before the even-more successful "American Idol"?

Yes, the latter may have been superior to its precursors and some of you may like this stuff but I'm quite happy to have temptation so dramatically reduced by the fine quality of this material. It seems not that many years ago that I watched 2-3 shows every night (Saturday usually being the most difficult to find something interesting) and now its down to 2-3 shows per week and shrinking.

I must admit to a bit of prevarication here. Over the past two weeks I have spent a couple hours daily watching OLN's somewhat flawed Tour de France coverage (of which, more in another post later this week).

Posted by Steve on July 18, 2004

July 16, 2004

Into the Mountains

Following the lead of the Tour de France the Modulators will spend the rest of today in the mountains.

If you did not watch it live I recommend watching at least the last 30-40 minutes of today's stage. It can be hard to appreciate the difficulty of cycling and watching a couple 12 kilometer (7+ mile) climbs demolish ~160 of the world's elite cyclists does make the point.

Back tomorrow.

Posted by Steve on July 16, 2004

July 15, 2004

A Year in the Life of a Blog

A year in the life of a what? A blog?

Terry Teachout's blog, About Last Night, was a year old yesterday and I am reminded that even though it is on my blogroll I do not read it often enough.

Terry reminisces a bit and reaches into the ether to find some representative material from the past year. This item reminds me both of Tyler Cowan's discussion of the fame and merit of critics in What Price Fame? and the transitory nature of our being:

Few biographers and fewer critics long outlive their own time, and I doubt I�ll be one of them. More likely I will go down in history as the first known owner of Hart-Davis 631, and in 2104 some art historian specializing in the Edwardian era will click on that entry in a computerized catalogue raisonn�, scratch his head, and say, �Who was that fellow with the odd name? Did it ever occur to him that the only thing he�d be remembered for was having owned a Max Beerbohm caricature and edited an H.L. Mencken anthology?� Indeed it did�and let it be said, if not necessarily remembered, that the prospect made me smile.
Yep, if you can look at yourself a 100 years down the road and smile then I suggest that you are doing just fine.

Oh yes, the opening question. Well both Teachout and Baude both have some thoughts that are worth the time to read.

Posted by Steve on July 15, 2004

I want my Strohs

Or measuring the full impact of the embargo on trade with Cuba.

Via Zombyboy.

Posted by Steve on July 15, 2004

Questioning the vp Candidates

Radley Balko has questions for both edwards and cheney. I'd certainly like to know their answers!

Posted by Steve on July 15, 2004

July 14, 2004

Mass Transit Systems

Planning a trip or just interested in transit systems? Check out this online reference or if you prefer a book try Metro Maps of the World1.

Oh, and as long as we are doing transit systems try out your subway driving skills with Catch the Tube curtesy of The Presurfer.

1If you want the book hop over to Parsec Project and click through to Amazon.co.uk from the link there as that is where I found the reference.

Posted by Steve on July 14, 2004

Stem Cell Research

Senator Frist:

Despite widespread support in the Senate, Frist, a heart-lung transplant surgeon, says the issue is too sensitive a matter to confront so close to the November elections.
Yea, right.

Via Civic Dialogues.

Posted by Steve on July 14, 2004

Homeland Insecurity II

A few days ago I linked to a story by a student in Seattle who ran afoul of what appears to be some overzealous law enforcement folks.

Via Pacific Views I see that there are some legs on the story. From the Seattle Times:

On Monday night, the volume of Internet traffic to Ian Spiers' Web site � www.brownequalsterrorist.com � crashed his server. Strangers from Chicago and New Zealand offered him space on their servers to get his story back online.
There is more at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Posted by Steve on July 14, 2004

Geographic Dominance

We already knew that the state by state red v blue maps show a large geographical area dominance by bush in the 2000 election but the county results are truly astounding. Check out the newly updated 2000 election results page at electoral-vote.com.

Posted by Steve on July 14, 2004 | Comments (1)

July 13, 2004


Blatantly lifted from Uncommon Thought Journal:


Picture by Rogers. Copyright 2004 Pittsburgh Post- Gazette. From The Oregonian, 3/5/04 B7.

Posted by Steve on July 13, 2004 | Comments (2)

What the Frum?

David must have been smoking some pretty heavy stuff to make this leap:

Took my kids to the multiplex on the weekend. The multiplex being in DC, close to half the theaters were showing Michael Moore's pseudo-documentary. But that's OK! Because the other half were showing the great pro-Bush movie of the summer: Spiderman 2.

Pro-Bush? Well consider this. Spiderman 2 is the story of a hero who is regularly belittled and ridiculed by almost everyone who knows him. Fashionable society despises him; the press lampoons and attacks him. Fashionable society despises him; the press lampoons and attacks him. ....The good news is that the movie ends with a barrage of hints that Spidey will soon return for another term .....

And in front of his kids too.

I join Juan Non-Volokh in calling this a great summer movie and note that I still can't come up with one thing from the movie that seems pro-bush.

However, Frum's point that almost everyone who knows bush regularly belittles and ridicules him does have a ring of truth to it and perhaps Frum will expand on this jiucy bit of gossip in future articles.

Posted by Steve on July 13, 2004

July 12, 2004

Senatorial Quality

Rick from Radically Inept had a bit of time to watch the marriage amendment debates on C-SPAN today. It was an educational experience:

Oh, I can't resist this observation from C-SPAN today. I caught a few minutes of the senate debate on the 'our government should define marraige in our contitution' act. I got to see U.S. Senator Rick Santorum-Pennsylvania say that the `Federal Marriage Amendment' had bi-partisan sponsorship because, get this, Senator Zell Miller, Democrat from Georgia is a co-sponsor. Which, as we all know, is the truth on the surface, but look at how his voting pattern rates.

Oh, then Santorum made the idoitic statement "marriage as defined in the constitution." I would have hoped that a senator, especially a republican senator, would have read the Constitution by now.

And santorum has actually sworn to uphold the Constitution. Yeccchh.

Update (7/13): Norbizness has some more examples of the high quality of this debate.

Posted by Steve on July 12, 2004 | Comments (1)

Find Some Time for Found Stuff

Do you writers need some fodder for your muse? If so, check out Found Photos as Radley is right:

You can't help but wonder what stories led up the moment the pictures were snapped. Or what happened after.
Heck, everyone should stop by. Just make sure you have some time to spare.

Oh, the Find of the Week has got great stuff as well.

Posted by Steve on July 12, 2004

cheney Yes, cheney No and Both are Wrong

Well, there is just no agreement in the cheney family these days:

Lynne Cheney, the vice president's wife and mother of a lesbian, said Sunday that states should have the final say over the legal status of personal relationships.

That stand puts her at odds with the vice president on the need for the constitutional amendment now under debate in the Senate that effectively would ban gay marriage.

While her position is certainly preferrable to that of her husband I can not, as does Alex Knapp, agree with it.

We would all be better off, i.e., it would promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity1, if neither state legislatures nor congress involved themselves in the legal status of personal relationships beyond regularizing the contract law that applies to the freely chosen relationships of informed, consenting adults.

1Preamble to the Constitution

Posted by Steve on July 12, 2004 | Comments (1)

July 11, 2004

Boondocks March 28, 1984


Via Avedon.

Posted by Steve on July 11, 2004

Cool Space

The California Institute of Technology provides a site that has some great tutorial material on infrared and multi-wavelength astronomy. Also, the many images and videos will make multiple visits worth your time even after you have learned all the basics!

The material also covers applications to biology, geology, oceanography and more.

Interestingly, the site warns readers when material is written for those older then 14 and refers the reader to their parents or guardians if the text is too difficult. I wonder just who the average adult is supposed to get help from.

Via The Internet Scout Report.

Posted by Steve on July 11, 2004

July 10, 2004

Homeland Insecurity

These stories will, I'm sure, help feel much more at ease.

First, PZ Myers points us to this student's adventures in photography and then Kevin Drum shares this writer's experience.

It is pretty clear that the bushies have been pretty successful so far in building their culture of fear. So when someone like Washington Representative Adam Smith (D) says:

No, I'm sorry, I actually understand the issue.
when asked why he voted against the Sanders amendment I have to believe him and believe he means he supports the kind of behaviour depicted in these two stories. Certainly his broken understanding of the Patriot Act supports this view:
Smith, a member of the Armed Services and International Relations committees, disputed statements by some critics that the law allows investigators to gather sensitive information on suspected terrorists without a warrant or probable cause.

"If that was true I would vote against it, no doubt," he said. "But it's not true. You have to get a warrant, you have to show probable cause and there's no evidence that this has been abused."

Take a quick look at Section 215. Sure it requires a warrant but the only probably cause that is required is that
shall specify that the records concerned are sought for an authorized investigation conducted in accordance with subsection (a)(2) to obtain foreign intelligence information not concerning a United States person or to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.
In other words the alleged probable cause is the word of the investigator. No other evidence is required. I don't think this is what most of us understand by probably cause.

Isn't it time to rise up and say NO??

Posted by Steve on July 10, 2004

July 9, 2004

Live Orcas

It is time for a field trip!

First briefly review the oceanography of the Puget Sound and then head over to Orca Live to watch the Orcas. If the Orcas are not on camera there is cool archive material.

Subscribe and they will send you email when Orcas are near the cameras.

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

Giving it All for the Rainforest

Performing to the music of *#$shots this couple claims to be raising money to save the rainforest. However their efforts have not been well received by some:

"I can not see that this helps the work for the rainforest," said Lars L�vold, head of the Rainforest Foundation Norway,...
Not work friendly!

Via Fred Lapides whose blog is also not work friendly.

Posted by Steve on July 9, 2004

All Left Behind?

John Venlet brings back to life this interesting 1895 8th grade final exam that, as his commenter Gary points out, has been on the net for a while. You can read the Snopes article and judge for yourself rather this interesting historical document reflects a decline in education standards and achievement. I suspect the success distribution in 1895 was little different from what might be achieved by today's students on today's tests.

For instance, here are some sample questions used as preparation for the Washington State 8th grade math assessment exam. After scratching their heads a bit over vacuum cleaners, pizzas and robotics the very brightest of the 1895 8th graders might have cut through the verbal cuteness and been able to solve the math.

Of course, nothing herein should be taken to suggest that huge improvements are not only possible but necesssary in the US educational system.

Posted by Steve on July 9, 2004

Wealthy Candidates

From time to time I have heard various bush supporting talk jocks actually say something true about kerry: he's wealthy. They state this, though, in a pejorative manner intended to convince their listeners that kerry isn't one of them and can't be trusted.

Of course they fail to point out that, compared to their typical listener, bush is also wealthy.

It looks like Tom is working hard to get the message out that bush is also wealthy.

Posted by Steve on July 9, 2004

July 8, 2004

Flash Time

Ok, dialing the phone is not near as strange as The Hospital but I agree with Ampersand in wanting more numbers!

Posted by Steve on July 8, 2004


I take it that Tom Ridge made this announcement:

Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said Thursday that there is "credible" information indicating that al-Qaida is moving ahead with plans for a "large-scale attack" in the U.S. aimed at disrupting the November elections.
to assist in bush's effort to squash a House attempt to remove some of the more onerous pieces of the patriot act:
The Republican-led House bowed to a White House veto threat Thursday and stood by the USA Patriot Act, defeating an effort to block the part of the anti-terrorism law that helps the government investigate people's reading habits
Nah, they wouldn't do anything like that....

Hat tips to Norbizness and Talkleft.

Posted by Steve on July 8, 2004

Extending the Drug War

Perhaps the bushies* are also working on an obediance drug:

Alongside efforts to reduce the supply and demand of illegal drugs, the federal government has begun pursuing a new tactic, one that expands the drug war battlefield from the Columbian coca farms and the Middle Eastern poppy fields, to a new terrain directly inside the bodies and brains of drug users.
As Radley Balko says, this report from the the Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics is frightening.

*Yea, I know I can't blame just the bushies as this fiasco has been going on for a long time. The bushies are, though, the ones currently violating people's rights and wasting resources.

Posted by Steve on July 8, 2004 | Comments (3)

July 7, 2004

The Cheney Family Circus

Speaks for itself.

Via The Poor Man.

Posted by Steve on July 7, 2004


Wow, Technorati is now tracking over 3,000,000 weblogs:

The growth of the service has been pretty remarkable - here's some stats: We're currently seeing anywhere from 8,000-17,000 new weblogs created every single day.
On an average weekday, we're seeing over 15,000 new weblogs created per day. That means that a new weblog is created somewhere in the world every 5.8 seconds.
Of course, not all weblogs that are created are actively updated. Even though abandonment rates are high - our analyses show that about 45% of the weblogs we track have not had a post in over 3 months we are still tracking a significant population of people who are posting each day. The number of conversations are increasing. We're seeing over 275,000 individual posts every day.
If you are not using Technorati to track who is linking to you it is time to start.

Posted by Steve on July 7, 2004

The Hospital

Turn the lights down and take your time touring The Hospital (Flash). Warning: may contribute to wierd dreams.

Via she's a flight risk.

Posted by Steve on July 7, 2004

July 6, 2004

June's Top Referrers

On the right side bar is the updated roll of Modulator's 21 top referrers in the month of June. Number 21 produced 10 referrals compared to 8 for number 20 in May.

Overall traffic was down about 9.7% from May and up 403% from June 03 (no I do not expect the year to year growth rate to continue at that rate). I am also seeing an increasing number of visits from folks who have bookmarked Modulator and I thank all of you for visiting!

Statistics are culled from AWStats running on Modulator's server at Hosting Matters.

June churn: 10 blogs dropped and 8 new ones added compared to 5 and 8 in April. There was a 2 way tie for 20th.

Top search word: ROTK

Most popular post: ROTK: Extended Edition

Again, 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, Bloglines, 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 July 6, 2004

July 4, 2004

The Gorge Report

Robert Hunter ~3:45-4:45
Allman Brothers Band ~5:00-7:10
The Dead ~8:10>9:20, 10:05-12:30

Uhhh,....well, I'm normally polite you know, but Holy Shit!!!

Hunter was delicious, the Allman Brothers Band smoked, and The Dead, well, you've read about those shows, maybe even been at one. This was one of those times!

It will likely be Monday night before I get this completed so in the meantime here is a bit I wrote during halftime:

The Allmans cooked southern fired rock for two hours. Trucks and Haynes were on fire the entire set, dueling, trading licks, weaving stories...hell who needs fireworks tomorrow. Who'd have thought it possible that the crowd would have anything left for The Dead.

Who'd have thought?

That they would come out, lift everyone off their feet and toss them like rag dolls for the entire set.

This is why people go to show after show!

Yes, it still happens. Set 1 at the Gorge was, to not coin a phrase, a klller! Sure, Boise 2nd set smoked but it was mere warmup for this.

Little did we know at that time that this was not going to be a one set thing.

Posted by Steve on July 4, 2004 | Comments (2)

July 3, 2004

Portland Report (preliminary)

The Dead July 2, 2004 Columbia Meadows

1:44 AM

This will be brief this morning. I hope to write more during the drive to The Gorge tomorrow (later this morning).

Every Dead show is different. Those of you in the choir understand this. Boise and Portland were no exception...really night and day. And more discussion is what will have to wait....

For now simply

...Corinna shattered into a million shards of glass atomized as they scrape across the chalk board and the world recreated by primal drummers into a delicately searing Stella Blue...

tears fill the world.

When there is more it will be beneath the fold.

Updated 7/4/04

Contrary to the suspicions of some the above descriptions was not influenced by party favors! Well, at least not ones consumed at this particular party. Birth, death, and rebirth are themes deeply woven into this bands lyrics and music. When they are playing at their very best they provide the audience an opportunity to merge into the music and go for a ride on the Great Wheel.

We flew back to Portland from Boise and, given the limited amount of sleep we had, this was much more relaxing then the 6-7 hour drive would have been. There were probably 10-15 concert goers on the flight.

After our 7:45 AM arrival we had lots of timem to use so headed up the Columbia for some sightseeing. The historical highway drive from Toutdale to Multnomah Falls was beautiful. At the falls we took a few pictures and visited for a while when some folks from Pennslvania that we had met the night before. They had just arrived after driving all night from Boise.

The Venue

100 acres of recently cut hay fields with a treed hillside along the soouth boundary. Easy to get to with only modest delays getting into the parking lot. Getting out the single exit for the main lot was a different story but then no point being in a hurry after one of these shows.

I've been to quite a few Oregon shows and I knew I was back before I'd made it through the first few rows of the parking lot eadinng for the vending area. The dress, the attitude, everything was the traditiional Oregon Dead scene tempered by the usual dose of tour heads fromm around the country. As someone mentioned from the stage at some point during the night there were a whole lot of hippies there! Chatted with lots of folks that I had met for the first time the night before at Boise.

Everything about the outside scene was relaxed and fun. yea, there were cops but they stayed in a patrol car and I saw them only a couple times before the show. They did not seem interested in hassling anyone...ignored beer drinkers, vendors and didn't seem to notice other mind expanding activity that was pretty rampant.

First thing in the vending area was Furthar. Zane Kesey and family brought it up from Springfield and were vending the stuff you can get at there weebsite. None of my friends from the Springfield Creamery came up with them.

The vending area was, as usual, flled with miracle seekers, veggie burritos, quietly offered 'shrooms, and a wide area of tie-dyes.

On the downside the venue would not let you bring in any food, water, or other containers. This is getting more common and, I think, is pretty stupid. Folks whho are going to buy from inside vendors will do it anyway. Those who won't, like me, still won't even if I am forced to leave my food outside (well, I did go empty my pack and put a bunch of food bars in my pockets).

The Show

This was not my favorite show of the 3 (I'm now writing on 7/4)and below I will make a negative comment or two. So I'd like to caveat things a bit right now. By standards of most bands the quality of the music was very high and lot's of people liked the show. My informal random survey (sample size 10-12) was 100% favorable.

If you remember, I complained about the vocals at the Boise venue. Well, this was fixed. We were sitting about 25 rows further back and, wow, the sound was crisp, loud, a bit on the treble end perhaps, and the vocals were right out in front where I like them.

So, they played songs well but, to me, it seemed like the band had picked out a list of songs and decided to rehearse them. With the significant exception of the Corinna>drumz>Stella Blue noted above and to a lesser extent the opening Liberty>Easy Wind the show had no flow and what energy there was in each song just died away as it ended.

1st Set about 1 hour:

While the opening combo had some energy and musical flow there is no way a Liberty opener is going to get my juices flowing. It is just not one of my favorites. Warren's Easy Wind was strong but I actually preferred Hunter's version in his show opening set. Hunter's added lyric "That asshole has got to go" was loudly cheered.

Dear Mr Fantasy is always nice but fits better rising up out of a swirling second set jam. I don't remember much of a transition into Stagger Lee which itself was not particularly memorable.

Warren, Bob, and Phil traded vocals on a sweet Lazy River Road.

Mickey can do a damn fine Aiko and this was probably the shows peak point with respect crowd energy (though see below). And with that the 1st set ended and, yea, it was ok but there was no 'wow.'

2nd Set about 2 hours

The 2nd set rose right up to the level of the first set. Each tune well played but no overall cohesiveness. Transitions continued to be a struggle and most of the bridge jams within the songs seemed by wrote and without emotion. It was very obvious when it was time for Chimenti, Haynes or Herring to do a solo: Bob or Phil would look at them and indicate your turn.

Individually The Weight, Peggy-O, and Friend of the Devil were well played and well received but it became quickly clear that they were still rehearsing, or as Mrs Modulator said "They seem to be savingn themselves." (Little did we know....)

The crown achievement of the show was in my estimation the Corrinna>drumz>Stella Blue. Corrinna was full of energ and the playing was stong and complex though I have allways had the sense that the audience is never quite sure what to do with it. Tonight was no exception and there was nothing to indicate that it would shatter into the chaos that led into drumz. Mickey and Bill were powerful forces all three nights and seemed particularly agressive, even angry...at the universe in tonight's Drumz. Perhaps because they knew what was to follow and had a bit to say in preparation for, and I still can'ta describe it differently, a delicately searing Stella Blue.

Many of you probably remember many times wishing that the jerks three rows over would shut up during Stella Blue. That was not an issue tonight. The audience was quiet, the band had grabbed them by their hearts and each person there new that if they had anything to say at all it would come out as a cry of anguished pain. It really was that powerful and there really were floods of tears.

Help on the Way>Slipknot!>Franklin's Tower didn't have a chance. Sure the band made an effort but the songs seems like going through the motions. Maybe if they had moved these to the beginning of the set and ended with Stella Blue with a two song encore....

Our expectations for The Gorge were high after this show. This was a subpar show in many ways and there seemed only one direction that things would go.

Posted by Steve on July 3, 2004 | Comments (4)

July 2, 2004

Road Report: The Dead July 1, 2004

Idaho Center Amphitheater, Nampa, Idaho

For those interested there is more beneath the fold....

Updated the afternoon of 7/2.

1:27 AM MST ....this is not complete......

Folks, you will get your money's worth. Hunter opens at 5:17 and the last note of Johnny B. Good blasted out at about 10:40. The standard breaks seemed shorter than usual.

The Venue:

Capacity ~11,000 todays attendance maybe 6-8000. This is a relatively new venue and is nicely done. It sits on an east-west line and today the band members were all wearing their sunglasses as they faced the west.

It is nicely grassed...very comfortable for bare feet. On the other hand, they were very strict about what you could bring in: no water, no food, no backpacks (I emptied everything from my backpack into a garbage bag and was allowed to bring it in. Go figure...rules that might have been made by congress.)

Big deal? Well, it was in the low 90s when the gates opened and you would think that they would want everyone to stay well hydrated. Well, yes, but only by buying 12 oz cups of water at 2.50 each. BS. There were only two water fountains that we found. On the other hand the 5.50 beers were very generous.

Robert Hunter

Opened and played about a one hour set. As usual Hunter sings as if the muse is still fresh. I particulary liked the Direwolf>Pretty Peggy-O>Direwolf>PPO>DW and Ripple. As far as I am concerned there is only one person who sings Hunter tunes better than Hunter and he's not singin' them where we can hear him right now.

The Dead

Whew! I'm exhausted.

Phil, Bob and Warren all have what looks like flat panel displays set up in front of them. Couldn't tell if they were for lyrics, set lists or what. Bob's disappeared shortly after what appeared to be a change of plans 2/3 through the first set (more on this later).

To lead things off a brief tuning jam opened up into a lilting China Cat Sunflower....

which is pretty much where I'm going to leave you for now. I'll post an update sometime later today after catching some sleep. I need to catch a plane to Portland in about 6 hours.

Here's more:

Set 1: Jam>

I was up on the edge of the amphitheater when the opening jam started and by the time I was back at my seat (7th row center) they were already teasing China Cat and a minute or so later made a somewhat rough transition into

China Cat Sunflower>

Which was a fairly laid back version and played not quite as brightly as I like. The bridge headed toward IKYR was strong and detoured nicely into

Good Lovin'

Which really picked up folks feet and, I think, set the tenor for much of what wwas to follow later. A very brief 10-15 second hiatus and then!

Madman Across The Water>

This may have been Warren's stongest vocal performance of the night with the possible exception of some parts of Death Don't Have no Mercy. The band worked this one hard and both the energy level and musical interaction was high.

Down The Road Again>

I'm not a big fan of Mickey's vocals though this was much more well done then I've heard before...

Mason's Children>

The vocals were too far back in the mix (for me this became a real problem later with Warren). I thought Herring's guitar work was not up to this particular song. He seemed to be just doing stuff to be doing it... But he redeems himself a couple songs down.


Wow, this was just like you've always heard it*. The seque into

Strange World>

was pretty weak as were Warren's vocals. I don't think it was him as much as the mix. I haven't mentioned his guitar work yet so I'll just say that throughout the show he seemed to fill in the sound nicely. This is a song that will take some familiarization...it didn't really do much for me tonight.

At this point I believe the 'preplanned' set list changed. As they jammed out of Strange World it was pretty clear that Bobby was changing direction both from his playing and from body language interaction with the rest of the band. They had all taken off their sunglasses by now and were warily watching the western sky where really black thunderheads were gathering. After a bit more jam they broke into what was a very powerful and prescient

Looks Like Rain

in which Herring is ripping perfection off his frets! LLR closed normally and here I expected to get a set closing I Know You Rider but with the lack of transition I should have known better. They broke into


Which got everyone back up on their feet and closed out the set with a huge burst of energy. Ok, I admit that I expected I Know you rider to

All in all a pleasing first set that was around an hour maybe a bit more. It was very clear that this group has been working on the music and was intent on having a lot of fun and giving the audience a treat.

Halftime as perhaps 30 minutes maybe a bit shorter. Dark clouds and increasing wind had everyone on edge as the band came back on for the second set.

Set 2: Music Never Stopped>

Hey, we were all going to have a lot of fun and Bob was going to damned well make sure of it despite that rain that started somewhere around now. Bob worked every last drop out of this emphasizing that, hey, the music will not ever stop over and over before they moved nicely into

Reuben & Cerise>

Today, I just don't remember this one.......

I do though remember the Watchtower teases building during transition and they just really blasted out into

All Along the Watchtower> Jam>

They worked this long and hard and Bob's vocals were strong and all instruments were full on!


Which was pleasing but not as crisp as I'd like and Phil's vocals are not his strength. I not here though that throughout the night Phil's base was a driving force. He was having a hugely good time!

Uncle John's Band> Jam>

Nicely done and just when I thought the jam was headed into drumz they found their way back to

I Know You Rider>

And everyone just kept on dancing. There was no energy let down here


We were somewhat shocked that they did not bring a Wheel out of the much too short space. The thunder and lighting were definitely present. But, what the hell, how often do you get this:

Death Don't Have No Mercy>

With Warren in peak form and meaning every word and every note! At this point no one would have been dispappointed if they'd dropped in to one of the traditional up tempo 2nd set closers. The music had been great; the entire crowd had been on their feet all night with smiles on their faces. But, no, lets not be oh so 1995 lets just rip some new holes in the fabric of the universe>>>

St. Stephen> William Tell Bridge>The Eleven>

Hey Pockey Way

Hey, I'm not used to this one as a set closer put it worked just fine.
Donor Rap/Headcount Rap
E: Johnny B Goode

The crowd worked hard for one more but couldn't drive the road crew from the stage.

Excellent show and I now have high expectations of a tsunami by the time we get to The Gorge. Now its time to head out to Columbia Meadows for today's show.

*But, then, no Dead song is ever just like you've always hear it.

Posted by Steve on July 2, 2004 | Comments (4)