August 31, 2004

Otter Formation

Congratulations to Rivka who has been a bit preoccupied:

It turns out that there actually is something in this world that's more obsessively all-consuming than politics - gestation.
There's more!

Posted by Steve on August 31, 2004

Who Will the Cartels Support?

Via Eugene Volokh I see that Jesse Walker at Reason picked up on the absurdity of hastert's fantasy about George Soros:

In addition to being baseless, Hastert's accusation doesn't even make sense. Drug prohibition acts as a price support and a barrier to entry; it helps the cartels maintain their market position. They're about as likely to fund a legalization campaign as they are to give Denny Hastert an all-expenses-paid vacation in Bermuda or -- as long as we're throwing around groundless insinuations -- a free sex tour in Thailand.
Well, on this latter point Jesse misses the mark. The cartels are quite likely to include these types of gifts in their funding, direct or otherwise, of those congress critters who support their market position, i.e., who support ongoing drug prohibition.

Update (9/3): I see that Mark Kleiman picked up on this thought from one of his readers.

Posted by Steve on August 31, 2004

Domestic Terrorism

Perhaps one of Tuesday's convention speakers will discuss domestic terrorism.

Article here.

Via BlogBites ,a new site which describes itself as like sound bites. but without the sound.

Posted by Steve on August 31, 2004

August 30, 2004

He Just Doesn't Know..., what the heck, he'll just make it up.

I haven't checked the schedule but, surely, the RNC won't be letting hastert anywhere close to a microphone during the convention will they. On the other hand, he is just making it up so maybe he would fit...

Ok, I know I shouldn't treat this stuff seriously but hastert is probably dumb like a fox.

He knows, as does anyone else who thinks much about it, that the drug cartels are most likely going to support those who will implement programs that keep drug prices artificially high.

So, in the spirit of at least part of mccain's presentation tonight let's consider a bipartisan sweeping out of office of all those democrats, republicans and any others who by their ongoing support of the drug cartels and the war on drugs destroy so many lives every day.

Via Electrolite.

Posted by Steve on August 30, 2004

August 29, 2004

Festival Express

What can I say? 90 minutes was way too short.

When was the last time you went to a movie and no one, no one left the theater until the credits were definitely all done.

Sure, it was a self selected crowd but any serious fan of late '60s early '70s music must see this. Oh, and any serious fan of rock, blues, folk, etc., will not want to miss this film. Oh yea, if you are a fan of Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead or The Band then you should go see Festival Express now.

I have money waiting for the extended version DVD.

And I have money waiting for the rest of the video material. This is some of the best concert video I have seen (and I have seen a bunch). It is raw, powerful, and it was like being face to face and mind to mind with the performers.

The Grateful Dead perform a beautiful New Speedway Boogie and the great shots of Pigpen blowin' his harp will make any Deadhead want more.

The oddest scenes in the film came from the GD material. At Toronto, the first stop, during Don't Ease Me In there are camera sweeps of the crowd showing nearly everyone sitting on their butts as if they were at the symphony. Those of you that have been to GD/Dead shows over the years know that this does not happen. Well, maybe sometimes during drumz/space. It was quite a jarring scene.

The Band's performances of The Weight and I Shall be Released are very powerful. You could tell that they meant and felt every note and every word.

No words for Janis are worthy. Cry Baby and Tell Mama well simply knock you on your ass. Go ahead, try to get back up. She'll just knock you down again. Worth triple the price of admission all by themselves.

Oh yea, the rest of the movie was great fun as well. I'd love to have a DVD just of jamming scenes from the train. The unscheduled stop in Saskatoon to replenish party fluids is a kick. And the side story about all the Canadian kids wanting to get in free is worth expanding a bit.

Update (9/2): The DVD with 50 additional minutes will be released November 2.

Posted by Steve on August 29, 2004 | Comments (4)

Walter's Free Advice to kerry

Do something liberal.

As Walter says: guaranteed advice on how to win the election.

Posted by Steve on August 29, 2004

August 28, 2004

Advice to Creative Wannabees

And good advice at that. Thanks to Jen for pointing out this excellent piece on How to be Creative by Hugh Macleod the proprietor of Gaping Void.

Ok, if that is not enough of a hook then go find the section on sex and cash.

Posted by Steve on August 28, 2004

Electoral Vote Poll Watching

Michael at Southern Appeal finds David Wissing's state-by-state rundown interesting.

It is interesting but not near as easy to read and interpret as Electoral Vote Predictor 2004 which also appears to be a bit more current in tracking poll results.

Posted by Steve on August 28, 2004

Helping w into the National Guard

Ex Texas Lt Goveror Ben Barnes tells the story:

"I got a young man named George W. Bush into the Texas National Guard when I was lieutenant governor, and I'm not necessarily proud of that. But I did it. I got a lot of other people in the National Guard because I thought that was what people should do when you're in office, and you help a lot of rich people."

"And I walked to the Vietnam Memorial the other day," Barnes continued, "and I looked at the names of the people that died in Vietnam, and I became more ashamed of myself than I have ever been, because it was the worst thing I ever did, was help a lot of wealthy supporters and a lot of people who had family names of importance get into the National Guard. And I'm very sorry about that, and I'm very ashamed, and I apologize to you as voters of Texas."

There is apparently a video of Barnes making this statement at the austin4kerry but so far the site seems to be overloaded at the moment (20:22 UTC/GMT).

Update: PZ Meyers has put up a copy of the video.

Posted by Steve on August 28, 2004 | Comments (1)

August 27, 2004

Drug War Result

Science and the market are hard at work in the drug war:

DRUG traffickers have created a new strain of coca plant that yields up to four times more cocaine than existing plants and promises to revolutionise Colombia�s drugs industry.
Why was it worthwhile to traffickers to spend �60,000,000 on this effort:
Such an investment by drugs traffickers is small compared to the earnings from what is the most lucrative business on earth. Traffickers can produce a kilogram of cocaine for less than �1,500. That kilogram will sell in Miami for �14,000, in London for �34,000 and in Tokyo would bring �50,000.
We can all thank the articial pricing created by ongoing domestic and international terrorist activities conducted by US and foreign governments for what promises to be a substantial improvement in both quality and quantity of cocaine on the market.

Via Jacob Sollum at Hit & Run.

NB: At the moment �1 equals $1.79

Posted by Steve on August 27, 2004 | Comments (1)

The Class of 2008

Entering Freshman members of the Class of 2008 live in a world where:

10. Alan Greenspan has always been setting the nation�s financial direction.
The Beloit College Class of 2008 Mindset lists 49 additional items that form part of the base experience of this years college freshman.

The Beloit Mindset webpage hasn't been updated with the 2008 list quite yet (mid day) so for your reading pleasure I have included their news release below the fold.

Ron Nief
(608) 363-2625


Beloit, Wis.This fall, a new generation of students is entering colleges and universities with its own particular view of the world. Most of them are about 17 and were born in 1986.

For the seventh year, Beloit College has distributed to its faculty and staff the Beloit College Mindset List, which identifies some facts of life that distinguish this generation from those that preceded it. One of its primary purposes has been, in the words of co-editor Tom McBride, Keefer Professor of the Humanities at the Wisconsin liberal arts college, an attempt to slow the onset of hardening of the references experienced by some faculty.

This year, the list was edited by Professor of Classics Art Robson who regularly teaches in the Colleges First Year Initiatives (FYI) program for entering students, along with Public Affairs director Ron Nief. Robson notes that these first-year students were born in the year that Chernobyl melted down and the Challenger exploded. Clint Eastwood was elected mayor of Carmel, Calif., and the Soviets had been bogged down for the seventh year of frustration in Afghanistan. Domestically we were preoccupied by the Iran Contra scandal, and internationally the Iran-Iraq war continued to reveal a disturbing list of atrocities.

The entering class offers to us as teachers both a Rosetta stone of information and unique approaches to the world, and a tabula rasaa blank slate on which to inscribe the knowledge they will need to pursue careers or further study. The joy of welcoming the new generation makes our work in the classroom rewarding. Each generation is unique, keeping all of us, whether we are teaching classical history or cutting-edge physics, prepared to look at our disciplines with a fresh eye.

With the help of hundreds of people who made suggestions, Beloit College is pleased to present the Mindset List for the entering class of 2008.

The Beloit College Mindset List Class of 2008
1. Most students entering college this fall were born in 1986.
2. Desi Arnaz, Orson Welles, Roy Orbison, Ted Bundy, Ayatollah Khomeini, and Cary Grant have always been dead.
3. Heeeeres Johnny! is a scary greeting from Jack Nicholson, not a warm welcome from Ed McMahon.
4. The Energizer bunny has always been going, and going, and going.
5. Large fine-print ads for prescription drugs have always appeared in magazines.
6. Photographs have always been processed in an hour or less.
7. They never got a chance to drink 7-Up Gold, Crystal Pepsi, or Apple Slice.
8. Baby Jessica could be a classmate.
9. Parents may have been reading The Bourne Supremacy or It as they rocked them in their cradles.
10. Alan Greenspan has always been setting the nations financial direction.
11. The U.S. has always been a Prozac nation.
12. They have always enjoyed the comfort of pleather.
13. Harry has always known Sally.
14. They never saw Roseanne Roseannadanna live on Saturday Night Live.
15. There has always been a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
16. They never ate a McSub at McDs.
17. There has always been a Comedy Channel.
18. Bill and Ted have always been on an excellent adventure.
19. They were never tempted by smokeless cigarettes.
20. Robert Downey, Jr. has always been in trouble.
21. Martha Stewart has always been cooking up something with someone.
22. They have always been comfortable with gay characters on television.
23. Mike Tyson has always been a contender.
24. The government has always been proposing we go to Mars, and it has always been deemed too expensive.
25. There have never been any Playboy Clubs.
26. There have always been night games at Wrigley Field.
27. Rogaine has always been available for the follicularly challenged.
28. They never saw USA Today or the Christian Science Monitor as a TV news program.
29. Computers have always suffered from viruses.
30. We have always been mapping the human genome.
31. Politicians have always used rock music for theme songs.
32. Network television has always struggled to keep up with cable.
33. OHare has always been the most delay-plagued airport in the U.S.
34. Ivan Boesky has never sold stock.
35. Toll free 800 phone numbers have always spelled out catchy phrases.
36. Bethlehem has never been a place of peace at Christmas.
37. Episcopal women bishops have always threatened the foundation of the Anglican Church.
38. Svelte Oprah has always dominated afternoon television; who was Phil Donahue anyway?
39. They never flew on People Express.
40. AZT has always been used to treat AIDS.
41. The international community has always been installing or removing the leader of Haiti.
42. Oliver North has always been a talk show host and news commentator.
43. They have suffered through airport security systems since they were in strollers.
44. They have done most of their search for the right college online.
45. Aspirin has always been used to reduce the risk of a heart attack.
46. They were spared the TV ads for Zamfir and his panpipes.
47. Castro has always been an aging politician in a suit.
48. There have always been non-stop flights around the world without refueling.
49. Cher hasnt aged a day.
50. M.A.S.H. was a game: Mansion, Apartment, Shelter, House.

2004 Beloit College, Beloit, Wisconsin

August 27, 2004

Posted by Steve on August 27, 2004

Global Terrorism

There is good news and bad news on the state terrorism front. First the good news:

The downturn in weapons orders worldwide since 2000 has been notable. Global arms agreement values have fallen from $41 billion in 2000 to $25.6 billion in 2003.
And the bad news. First:
Global arms agreement values in 2003 were $25.6 billion.
and second, if you are a US citizen:
In 2003, the United States led in arms transfer agreements worldwide, making agreements valued at over $14.5 billion (56.7% of all such agreements), up from $13.6 billion in 2002.
These numbers are not big when compared to, for instance, the US war budget and to be fair the US has a lot of company in this business. The other top ten leading peace loving nations are Russia, France, Germany, United Kingdom, China, Israel, Ukraine, Sweden and Italy.

Read the entire report on Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations,1996-2003.

Via Secrecy News.

Posted by Steve on August 27, 2004

August 26, 2004

Ping Pong Ball and Concrete?

This doesn't even begin to make any sense and if it doesn't make you squirm enough there's more.

Via Scott at AMCGLTD.COM.

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

August 25, 2004

Sit Up Straight

Apparently sitting back and relaxing is not as good for you as it feels:

Slumping in front of the television or computer could deactivate muscles that support and protect your spine, triggering many otherwise inexplicable cases of lower back pain.
It takes a bit of effort but, yes, you can sit up straight in the car, on the bus, and in your living room.

You know the mantra: just do it.

Posted by Steve on August 25, 2004

Merry Christmas

What? It is August 25th not December 25th.

Well, if you work in a National Park you are probably celebrating Christmas today in a tradition that begain in the 1930s1 in Yellowstone and has since spread to most if not all of the National Parks.

And a special Merry Christmas to the staff of Signal Mountain Lodge in Grand Teton National Park who, while celebrating this Christmas Day, continue to mourn the loss of their friend and companion Quiet Dave.

NB: On a more mundane level today is the 88th anniversary of the founding of the National Park Service.

1 A write up that I recently saw on the wall of a National Park lodge said this tradition begain in Yellowstone in the summer of 1933 though this reference is much less specific.

Posted by Steve on August 25, 2004

August 24, 2004

Flip, Flop, I'm Taking a Bath

w speaks and then reverses himself.

This story and variants started storming around the blogosphere while I was vacationing and I particularly like the combination of Atrios, Norbizness, Eugene Volokh, Julia, Ted Barlow and Arthur Silber all hammering away on the same issue.

You should heed Arthur's warning:

Time for some people to wake up and face reality. Bush is absolutely no friend of freedom and liberty -- either at home or abroad. And should he have a second term, the Constitution may be unrecognizable by the time he gets done.
Not that the Constitution is a perfect written and interpreted it leads to today's state of affairs.

Posted by Steve on August 24, 2004


The Modulators are back from vacation and wishing we were still gone.

Over the course of 9 days I got online once, did not watch TV, and did not read any newspapers.

I feel refreshed.

I am, though, a bit disappointed that you all did not fix all the ills of the world during this time. Oh well, .....

Posting may continue to be a bit slow as I catch up with work issues and various personal matters that also did not resolve themselves.

Posted by Steve on August 24, 2004 | Comments (3)

August 14, 2004

Olympic Bitching

Well, the Olympics have barely started and world class complainers are already at it.

I admit to near hating the coverage of the past two Olympics. But early on I have no complaints at all about this one.

First, if I had not been at work this morning I could have watched the opening ceremonies live on CBUT. Since I wasn't I watched large chunks on NBC/CBUT tonight. The two networks were enough out of synch with each other that if we missed something on CBUT we could switch over to NBC a bit later and see it. I thought the ceremonies were fine. Excellent music, fine artistry, great graphics and lots of athletes. It was just fine.

Second, I'm now watching live rowing. Hey, I've been watching live rowing for 1.5 hours now. This is more live rowing then, I think, have been shown in the last two Olympics combined. The announcers have been ok, if a bit slow keeping up with the action on the course. Oh, there has not been a single long human interest story yet.

If to today turns out to be exemplary of the rest of the coverage I'm going to be very unhappy about being on a traveling vacation over the next week instead glued to the TV. I will, though, enjoy the vacation.

PS: Yea, I agree with Tim Duncan's assessment of the NBC announcers. But, hey, we just went to other coverage when they got too misdirected.

Posted by Steve on August 14, 2004

August 13, 2004

Sporadic Activity

What, sporadic activity here at Modulator?

Well, this would indeed be no surprise as the rate of posting for the past 18 months has been sporadic by definition.

Nevertheless, I think it is fair to tell you that the Modulators will be on vacation for the next week or so. I will have a laptop along and should have some form of connectivity for brief periods each day. This does not mean I'll post anything...

None of this will bother those of you reading RSS or who use Blogrolling's nifty recently updated feature in you blogrolls. For those of you who come from bookmarks, well, just keep checking...

And, thanks for visiting!

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

August 12, 2004

It's Your Money

What are the odds that these folks (R) are being payed the same or less then the troops they have replaced?

Stretched thin by troop deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan and security needs at home, the Army has resorted to hiring private security guards to help protect dozens of American military bases.

To date, more than 4,300 private security officers have been put to work at 50 Army installations in the United States, according to Army documents obtained by The Times.

I'll bet this makes the personnel on these bases feel much more secure as well.

Oh, the process for awarding some major contacts for this service is pretty typical for the current administration.

Posted by Steve on August 12, 2004

August 11, 2004

bush Rugby

As Bob Harris says The past is Prologue.

Without it none of us can be who and where we are today and many change their ways more then once as they navigate through life. Others do not appear to change their core at all. They hold to their basic character and behavior from beginning to end. This is not necessarily good or bad but different for each individual. Some of these are your neighbors, some are your ministers, some are in jail and some are presidents (R):

I am looking at a photo of the George W. Bush that you've probably never seen before. It's a sports-action close-up of him at Yale, over a caption written prophetically by a fellow undergraduate more than 30 years ago: "George Bush delivers illegal, but gratifying right hook to opposing ball carrier."

Never mind that this is a rugby game, alien to most Americans, and that the caption writer's assessment wasn't political. I think it explains one reason why Bush hasn't slid in the polls since John Kerry reported for duty: He owes more than a little something to the "bad boy" vote that no pollster captures as well as this photo and caption do.

The Apostropher suggests that the picture of bush
..provides photographic evidence that Bush was already a cheap shot artist years before you ever heard of him.
Go look for yourself, read Bob Harris' post and Jim Sleepers column in the LA Times (link above), and make your own decision.

Posted by Steve on August 11, 2004 | Comments (3)

A Plan

w and his administration are not well known for providing comprehensive public policy plans for public discussion and possible action. For instance, regarding the economy the bush buzzward is ownership. See here and here. There is not much depth and from a planning perspective these appear to be more like action items without any overall strategy direction. And looking deeper on the bush campaign site finds more of the same kind of thing.

Tyler Cowan proposes a somewhat expanded plan for bush (I presume he'd like kerry to adopt it as well)and does include at least a bit of overarching vision in his 12th point:

Get on TV and tell the nation that a free economy is a critical source of our strength. Tell them you mean it, and then mean it. Economic growth is the greatest long-run gift we can give to the world.
The rest of the list is incomplete but, for the most part, a great start toward implementing the proposed vision.

To all of this Ideablog says:

Big problem: it's politically impossible.
To which I say, well, that's ok. What is impossible today happens tomorrow but only if you start talking about it.

This is why, whether you ultimately agree point by point, you should go read Cowan's proposal, think about it, talk about it, discuss your alternatives, refine it, and go at it again, and again, until we get it closer to right.

Posted by Steve on August 11, 2004 | Comments (2)

The Election Must be Getting Close

And the bushies need something to lift their chances from the depths they are at today. So, they are waving sticks in the air again:

The Bush administration is piling on the pressure over Iran's alleged nuclear weapons programme. It maintains Tehran's decision to resume building uranium centrifuges wrecked a long-running EU-led dialogue and is proof of bad faith.

The US will ask a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency on September 13 to declare Iran in breach of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, a prelude to seeking punitive UN sanctions.
Condoleezza Rice, the US national security adviser, said at the weekend there was a new international willingness to confront Tehran, but declined to rule out unilateral action if others did not go along.

Sound familiar?

Eric at Wampum argues:

The current working-draft of the casus belli (singular) for the work-in-progress Iran War is failure to allow IAEA inspections.
Eric is wrong in restricting the gathering threat to a single issue. According to the above Guardian article the bushies are waving sticks on 4-5 fronts though the nuclear issue seems to be the biggest one at the moment. Given the apparent information failures related to their last adventure I expect folks to set an extremely high standard of proof for any allegations that might lead to an act of war.

Question for the day: what other nuclear powers are planning to not allow IAEA inspections?

Posted by Steve on August 11, 2004 | Comments (1)

August 10, 2004

If They Want You....

They can probabably get you!

The US Federal Government at work.

With nearly 4000 federal criminal statutes on the books the chance of you knowing when and what law you broke is probably nil.

The constitution called out three federal criminal offenses: treason, piracy and counterfeiting. As a glossy overgeneralization I suggest that any additional ones are inappropriate and relate to things that should be beyond the business of federal busybodies.

Via Freespace.

Posted by Steve on August 10, 2004

Home Learning '60s-80s

Many of you probably learned a bit from the How and Why Wonder Book series:

These were produced in the US during the 1960's and covered many subjects in science, technology, nature and history. They were large format books of 270x205mm, mostly softcover, but hardcover was also available. They are always 48 pages long, and mostly illustrated with simple painted artwork, though some photographs are used. The books are structured into chapters based on sub-topics of the title subject, and within these are questions that a child might ask, followed by a half page answer to the question.
Rob Storey has collected most of the covers.

Via Reflections in d minor.

Posted by Steve on August 10, 2004

August 9, 2004

To lay me down one last time

An Elegy for Jerry.

Posted by Steve on August 9, 2004

Carnival Time

The current edition of the Carnival of the Capitalists is up at Poliblog.

Browse through the links which include the practical, the radical and a throwaway or two. You decide which is which.

Posted by Steve on August 9, 2004

For President

He didn't win in 2000 but you should consider him in 2004.

He has Ken's vote!

Posted by Steve on August 9, 2004

August 8, 2004

Toe Licking

Some folks like it but uninvited toe licking exactly what Dutch parliament member peter van heest says it is:

"It is a violation of one's privacy and one's physical integrity," he told a local news agency. "The norm... is that no one should touch your body if you haven't asked them first."
But why, then, should it need its own special category in Dutch law? It seems more appropriate that the Dutch should clarify their assault laws so that things like this will not fall through the cracks rather than following the path van heest and the good Professor advocates.

Oh, and for the victems that the Dutch state has so grievously failed perhaps there are some alternatives more appropriate. How about a civil suit? Are such things allowed in Holland?

Failing that I expect that their brothers, fathers, husbands and boyfriends would look askance at such behavior. Why haven't they performed the appropriate behaviour modification actions on the perp?

I'm also a bit surprised that the perp has not suffered a multitude of broken noses during his three years of activity.

Update: Update: Jack K at Ruminate This also weighs in on this major issue.

Update (8/9): Will Baude agrees re their assault laws and links to this relevant analysis by the Curmudgeonly Clerk.

Posted by Steve on August 8, 2004

The Blog Rolls

What's the deal with my blog rolls? Read on:

Blog rolls

Top Roll:

This is my main roll. On any given day I may read only sites from here. And I'm more likely to read something that has been recently updated (currently set for a 6 hour window) so do ping

Presented in order of most recently updated.

This roll is maintained on and is generated using PHP code and should be visible to visiting robots.

Center Roll:
Two sets of sites currently live in this roll:
1) those moving upward from the Base Roll or downward from the Top Roll
2) reciprocals.

Presented in order of most recently updated.

This roll is maintained on and is generated using PHP code and should be visible to visiting robots.

Base Roll:
I use this to track sites that look interesting and that I might want to include on my permanent rolls.

I don't review these sites near as often as the Center or Top rolls but when I do I perform a triage: a) nah, not really interesting so delete, b) neutral, no change, c) yea, I'm still liking what I see so make another entry for them.

This is a large roll and currently I have 77 random sites shown when Modulator's main page is opened. Sort is random.

This roll is maintained on and is currently generated using Javascript code. Robots may not read these sites.

Journals and Media:
Just as it says...a selection of electronic journals and other web based media. Just as in the other rolls there are items from multiple colors of the political spectrum. Maintained on
Top Referrers Roll:
Just what it says It does not include service sites like Movable Type, Technorati,, etc., though I will mention them in my monthly announcement regarding top referrers.

Presented in random order.

This roll is maintained on and is generated using PHP code and should be visible to visiting robots.

Open Source Politics
Regular contributors to Open Source Politics.

Presented in order of most recently updated.

This roll is maintained on and is generated using PHP code and should be visible to visiting robots.

Posted by Steve on August 8, 2004

August 7, 2004


I'm not sure whether to thank Deb or complain loudly about this lovely little timewaster she recommended this morning.

Either way I'll have fun with it while knowing I really should be doing something else.

Posted by Steve on August 7, 2004 | Comments (2)

August 6, 2004

Strange Definitions

Malkin's definition of culturally and ideologically diverse is someone who answers yes to the 20 questions on her litmus test. Perhaps she is tongue in cheek...but I think Dean's answers are a little closer to my definition of these terms.

Via the Traffic Jam.

Posted by Steve on August 6, 2004

Zen Gardens

Some beautiful garden pictures and it is double bonus time if you are interested in Zen gardens:

The web site is dedicated to the gardens of Japan, and more specifically to the historic gardens of Kyoto and its environs. Although many of these gardens are located within Zen monasteries, this site does not explore the influence of Zen Buddhism on Japanese garden design, an influence that is often conjectural at best. Instead, the site is designed to provide the visitor with an opportunity to visit each garden, to move through or around it, to experience it through the medium of high-quality color images, and to learn something of its history.

Via The Internet Scout Report.

Posted by Steve on August 6, 2004


Talkleft suggests that Alan Keyes apparent decision to challenge Obama in the Illinoise senate race will be good news for Obama but, I suspect, probably not as good of news as running unchallenged.

Ron Paul notes in the comments that Keyes will be following in the footsteps of another recent carpet-bagger that Keyes condemned 4 years ago:

"I deeply resent the destruction of federalism represented by Hillary Clinton's willingness to go into a state she doesn't even live in and pretend to represent people there, so I certainly wouldn't imitate it"

Alan Keyes - Fox News in 20001

Both election challenges show how far removed the Senate, our entire representative government, has been distanced from the people who ostensibly provide its authority.

The republicrats are primarily concerned with having enough control of the legislative and executive branches of state and federal government to be able to transfer the billions of revenue and borrowing to their preferred charities.

The sad thing is that in this respect it really won't make any difference whether Obama or Keyes wins. Your money, the fruit of your labor, is still going to get siphoned to big pharma, tobacco growers, big bureaucracy, etc., without you having a real choice in the matter.

1This quote is said to be from a Fox News interview by Pat Buchanan in 2000. I have not found a verified original source for it yet but it is showing up far and wide around the blogosphere today.

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

Referrer Stuff

Or how Modulator finds itself ranked #92 in Yahoo search results for triple x.

I was browsing through the referrer log last night and was puzzled as to exactly how Modulator managed to show up in a search for "triple x sxx sites" (slightly modified).

It seems that someone used to do a search for the above words. Overture uses Yahoo as their search engine and apparently this post from a couple days ago was enough to set the trigger. The culprit letters are indeed right there toward the end of the post.

I am in good company though. Kevin Aylward's Wizbang is right there at #91 and the fine folks at AMCGLTD.COM are 4 spots ahead at #88.

Posted by Steve on August 6, 2004

August 5, 2004


For you nightowls.

Newly up at the Internet Archive is the classic horror film Nosferatu:

Originally released in 1922 as Nosferatu, Eine Symphonie Des Grauens, director F.W. Munarau's chilling and eerie adaption of Stoker's Dracula is a silent masterpiece of terror which to this day is the most striking and frightening portrayal of the legend.
Go grab it now.

Posted by Steve on August 5, 2004

The Gaffe

If you'd like to listen to the gaffe Joi Ito points to this MP3 hosted by Laura Weinstein.

Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.

w, 8/5/2004

Posted by Steve on August 5, 2004

State Attorneys General Join Hatch in Bed of Dinosaurs

Big entertainment has captured Oren Hatch (see Induce) and at least 46 state attorneys general also appear to see themselves as responsible to big industry and not the citizens of their respective states.

The Washington Post and C/Net are reporting that the SGs are

are set to warn major peer-to-peer file-sharing networks that they may face enforcement actions if they do not take steps to stem illegal activity on the networks, such as the trading of child pornography and stolen movies and music.
But, really, does this reflect consumer or industry concerns:
"We are writing to encourage your companies to take concrete and meaningful steps to address the serious risks posed to the consumers of our states by your companies' peer-to-peer file-sharing technology," the letter said. "At present, P2P software has too many times been hijacked by those who use it for illegal purposes to which the vast majority of our consumers do not wish to be exposed."
Uhhh, with the possible exception of ad/spyware that may come bundled with some P2P applications I don't think anyone is exposed to anything they do not choose .

The crimes alleged to be committed by users of P2P users do not hold a candle, even a small candle, to the real crimes committed by users of automobiles or guns. Where are the letters to GM, Winchester. etc.?

Posted by Steve on August 5, 2004

Campaign Marketing Stuff

Thanks to Nurse Ratched for the pointers to bush's campaign ketchup (You don�t support Democrats. Why should your ketchup?) and kerry's campaign panties, e.g., expose bush, lick bush, etc.

Posted by Steve on August 5, 2004

Now This is Broadband

Not DSL, not 3 Mbps cable. Nope, this is broadband:

Cairns, North Queensland, Australia, July 6, 2004 - ResearchChannel, an industry leader in Internet distribution of quality content, demonstrated the first successful transmission of full bandwidth High Definition (HD) 1080i video between two desktop computers using high speed networking technology at the Asia Pacific Advanced Network (APAN) conference in Cairns, Australia today. Conference attendees were treated to three HD video clips streamed at a sustained data rate of 1.5 gigabits per second. (emphasis added)
And, I think, this is exactly what big media and big cable are afraid of and why we haven't seen a more agressive roll out of broadband services. Heck, even 100 Mbps full duplex would open the door to massive disintermediation of the media industry.

You might want to check out the huge amount of educational material available to be streamed at the ResearchChannel.

Posted by Steve on August 5, 2004

Sex Work in New Zealand

The good folks over at Marginal Revolution show again that they are paying attention to all things economic by bringing our attention to New Zealand's decriminalization of prostitution.

Alex is so intrigued by the sex-safety manual (PDF) produced by the NZ equivalent of OSHA that he doesn't get around to discussing the economic side of the decriminalization. Who can blame him? The manual is both well done and a hoot! I've downloaded a copy to read at leisure but even a brief skim will be both instructional and entertaining for any of you so inclined.

PZ Myers adds that the Kiwi feds have published a straightforward, unblushing guide to safe sex behavior and suggests that the manual's section on repetitive stress injuries might also be useful to computer-using geeks.

One thing that is not quite clear to me is whether the ability to produce an entertaining manual is enough to justify the governments involvement in the business. I can't think of any other good reasons...

Oh, the answers provided for the IQ question posed by Alex Tabarrok seem, at first look, to provide a topological solution more then a safe sex solution.

Posted by Steve on August 5, 2004

Playing Politics

A group of musicians including some popular in conservative demographics are planning to tune the election:

Bruce Springsteen and an eclectic chorus of musicians, including R.E.M., the Dave Matthews Band, Keb' Mo' and Death Cab for Cutie, will stage concerts in nine of the presidential campaign's swing states this fall to raise money and press voters to oust the Bush administration, organizers of the concerts said Wednesday.
Last night Talkleft blogged Springsteen's Nightline appearance.

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

August 4, 2004

Images, Images and More Images

The Presurfer, a great place for the new and the odd, suggests the Devilfinder Image Browser.

Enter a word, name, or whatever describes the image you are looking for, tell it how many images you want and it opens a new window with images gleaned from the net.

If you are at work I strongly suggest turning on the Offensive Content Filter. Trust me, even seemingly innocent searches may show some very unexpected and disturbing results. And, no, I won't tell you what three letter word I used that I wish I'd turned the filter on for.

I did, though, try Aquaman and got a bunch of cool pictures and was a bit surprised that none of them were from Tegan who is a consummate Aquaman fan.

Posted by Steve on August 4, 2004

Low Morale

Deb says: By far, this is the funniest thing on the internet.

Well, yes, pretty funny but it might push some of you over the edge the other way.

Apple users check out animation 6 and to really get down listen to/watch Radiohead's Creep.

Posted by Steve on August 4, 2004

Truth in Labeling

How often do you read the labels on your clothes? You might want to make it a habit so that you do not miss something like this:


Update (11/10/04): Sadley, No! via Memosyne reports that this label is from products manufactured by Tom Bihn.

The label photo was sent to me by my son who was traveling in South America at the time.

Posted by Steve on August 4, 2004

Protecting the People

Here is yet another example of why we should kick all the drug warriors off the dole and send them out to get real jobs:

Landscape contractor Blair Davis was in his northwest Harris County home around 2 p.m. Tuesday when there was a knock at his door.

Davis said he hadn't even gotten his hand on the doorknob when it flew open and he was looking at the barrel of a pistol.

Behind the gun were about 10 members of the Harris County Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force, who burst into the home, guns drawn, and began shouting at him to get down on the floor.

There on the floor, Davis said, it took a while to figure out that what had caused the swarm of lawmen to descend upon him was the hibiscus in his front yard.

Let's put an end to domestic terrorism now!

Via Zombyboy and Jeff Trigg.

Photo: Meg Loucks/ Houston Chronicle

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

August 3, 2004

People are Crazy

This pretty much confirms what you've been thinking everytime you are out and about:

Crazy people outnumber alcoholics!- The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (part of the National Institutes of Health) surveyed 43,000 Americans and came up with the following data;

* 11% have some type of anxiety disorder (panic attacks, phobias).
* 9.2% have some type of mood disorder (depression, manic depressive).
* 8.5% have an alcohol dependence problem.
* 2% have a problem with drug abuse.
* 15% can be classified as having some type of personality disorder!

Sure there is some cross over or, as the professionals say, comorbidity but this confirms that there are a lot of screwed up people out on the street today.

Chris Rangel has more to say about this.

Posted by Steve on August 3, 2004

Making it Easy

Ms Spears makes it really easy for Jaquandor who has a regular feature titled Move Over Britney. The most recent supplanter is Colleen Doran.

Via Nicole Lee.

Posted by Steve on August 3, 2004

Keep Them Dry

Yes, keep those pits dry guys and you to can enjoy the rewards (flash). Is this kind of thing work friendly?

Apparently a side effect of this product is that you turn into an armpit with feet (a Pitman). This may or may not increase the number of women interested in dating you.

Via Dave Barry who also notes that Mark Momford isn't real high on these adds.

Posted by Steve on August 3, 2004

August 2, 2004

Administration Supports Increased Use of Lawyers

And the American Library Association is fighting back on our behalf:

Last week, the American Library Association learned that the Department of Justice asked the Government Printing Office Superintendent of Documents to instruct depository libraries to destroy five publications the Department has deemed not "appropriate for external use." The Department of Justice has called for these five public documents, two of which are texts of federal statutes, to be removed from depository libraries and destroyed, making their content available only to those with access to a law office or law library.

The topics addressed in the named documents include information on how citizens can retrieve items that may have been confiscated by the government during an investigation. The documents to be removed and destroyed include: Civil and Criminal Forfeiture Procedure; Select Criminal Forfeiture Forms; Select Federal Asset Forfeiture Statutes; Asset forfeiture and money laundering resource directory; and Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 (CAFRA).

Julia at Sisyphus Shrugged asks:
Can you think of any reason why our current ruling party would be trying to keep americans from having access to information about our laws?
Let's see, here are a few possibilities:

1) They think ordinary citizens are too dumb to be able to read federal statutes without a lawyer to interpret?

2) Citizens have been making effective use of the material to protect their rights without the aid of lawyers?

3) If the feds make it hard to fact check their asses they can make things up as they go along with less concern?

4) An uninformed citizenry will make it easier to to fight the "war on terror."

5) To help pay for Iraq (see 2 above).

Any more ideas?

Posted by Steve on August 2, 2004

All the News that is Fit to Google

It's not clear why Vin Cosbie is surprised about this:

But when I analyzed its choices of news sources, I was surprised by the results. Although Google spiders more than 7,000 news sources, only about a dozen sources account for the vast majority of stories displayed on Google News day to day, and two of those predominant sources are owned and operated by the U.S. and Chinese governments.
A commentor hits main point number 1: real estate. There is only so much space on a web page.

A second reason is that not all 7000 sources are going to be interested in every story and many that might be will not write about it as they have made other choices.

I suspect that these dozen or so sources are, in fact, the sources that rank highest in Google's ranking methodology. This may be a self reinforcing result since most of us probably read and, if applicable, link only the first story or two thus strengthening rank for those sources. On a statistically meaningless note I have many times gone deeper into the source material and quickly tired of the repetitive and derivative articles.

Vin can do this as well. By doing just a bit more work he can click on Google New's always available "and xxx related" link and find the dozens, hundreds or thousands of other sources that he was originally looking for.

Via E-Media Tidbits.

Posted by Steve on August 2, 2004 | Comments (1)

August 1, 2004

July's Top Referrers

On the right side bar is the updated roll of Modulator's 20 top referrers for the month of July. Number 20 produced 12 referrals compared to 10 for number 20 in June.

Overall traffic was up about 2.4% from June and up 233% from July 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.

July churn: 8 blogs dropped and 7 new ones added compared to 10 and 8 in June.

Top search word: extended

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,,, MovableType, Blogdex, Bloglines,, 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 or 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 August 1, 2004 | Comments (2)