October 31, 2004

Happy Halloween

Hmmmm, I don't think the bra of the week will fit:


Ratty has some zombie stuff for those of you wanting more traditional halloween pics.

Posted by Steve on October 31, 2004

Halloween Reading

De Novo has a list of top 10 reads for halloween. I'd add Dan Simmons' Hyperion and Song of Kali.

Posted by Steve on October 31, 2004 | Comments (1)

October 29, 2004


Comments are currently set to require registration in order to block a comment spammer who has broken through my other safeguards. It blasted about 200 comments in 30 minutes (all different names and ips) before I got it turned down.

So, since I haven't set up a registration mechanism there will be no comments for a while.

If you want to get a hold of me send regular email...the address is on the front page.

Posted by Steve on October 29, 2004

Friday Ark

Cats, Dogs, Spiders and ? every Friday.

I'll post links to sites that have Friday (or shortly thereafter) photos of their chosen animals as I see them (no photoshops and no humans).

Leave a comment or trackback to this post and I'll add yours to the list. If there is interest I'll keep this as a weekly feature.

Privious editions: 10/22/04, 10/15/2004, 10/8/2004, 10/1/2004 and 9/24/2004.


DogsBirdsOther Vertebrates
InvertebratesDidn't Make It

Posted by Steve on October 29, 2004

October 28, 2004

Zombie Medicine

This morning, sitting in a waiting room, I read about the sleepless residents who provide sleep deprived health care patient sitting. Well, I said to myself, I'll have to blog about this later. I couldn't believe that supposedly intelligent people would have to perform a study to figure out things like:

Young doctors make far fewer mistakes when their hours are restricted to let them get enough sleep, according to the first study to directly examine the issue.

The study of 24 student doctors caring for seriously ill patients in a hospital found that those who were restricted to working no more than 16 hours without a break made about one-third fewer serious errors that could harm patients.

Anyone who has pulled an all nighter knows this.

David Leach, Executive Director of the group that oversees medical residency hides from the obvious:

"I cannot emphasize enough that this situation is more complicated than just one variable. I don't know if it's as simple as reducing hours," Leach said. "We could end up doing more harm than good."
From this quote I was going to jump into a diatribe about just who was going to be harmed the most. But, heck, Megan McCardle and Jonathan Wilde are already all over this.

Perhaps a series of tort awards based on malpractice due to resident's poor work conditions will bring a more rapid change. Is this another reason that the medical profession wants tort limits: to protect their government sponsored monopoly. Because, to cut back on resident's hours the medical education system will have to produce more residents which ultimately means more doctors serving patients.

NB: I do wish that Megan would cross post her Instapundit guest posts at Asymetrical Information. Her stuff is really too good for Instapundit and it does kind of irk me to have to go there to find her material.

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

Make it Huge

Tired of your tiny url. Make it a huge one.

You can go to The Presurfer to see how huge.

Posted by Steve on October 28, 2004

Cosmology Primer

Sean, at Preposterous Universe, says:

I've written a Cosmology Primer meant to explain the basic features of the universe to people on the street. It's very much in rough draft form at present, but has nevertheless gone live. I'd be very interested in what people think -- not about stylistic questions, since the look and feel will undoubtedly evolve, but whether the level is appropriate, and if the important questions are addressed, and if so if the answers make sense. Let me know.
Go refresh your understanding of the universe and give him some feedback.

Posted by Steve on October 28, 2004

October 27, 2004

Octopus Suckers

You do want to know how they work, don't you?

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

October 26, 2004

Incarcerating the People

Undeterred by the success of the war on drugs which led to the arrest of 951,027 people in 2003 with no apparent reduction in drug use or availibility congress and the executive branch stay the course:

President Bush signed a law on Friday banning certain steroid-like drugs, used by some athletes as performance enhancers.

The new law adds 18 substances to the list of banned anabolic steroids,

Ignoring reality senator biden exclaims:
"This new law sends a strong message about andro and other steroid precursors. We are calling them what they really are: drugs, performance enhancing drugs," the Democrat from Delaware said.
I suspect folks who want to use this stuff will pay just about as much attention to these federal laws as any other drug user.

As Doctor Recommended notes:

It is one thing for a league, competition, team, venue, etc. to ban a set of drugs (such as the Olympics or MLB), as these are organizations that you voluntarily join and can leave if so desired, but the State is an entity which you are required to submit to (i.e., you are not given the opportunity to leave or say �no� � you must comply or else�).
If you want people to respect the law then you must write into law only what is just, necessary, and proper.

Posted by Steve on October 26, 2004

Happy Halloween

From Coors Light. Go ahead, count the bottles!

NB: Modulator does not drink this beer.

Posted by Steve on October 26, 2004

Top 101 Useful Websites

According to PC Magazine these are the top 101 useful websites. Your mileage may vary but there are probably some here that you have not yet realized need to be on your daily rounds.

Sree Sreenivasan says:

That's what I keep preaching: You need to expand your Web travel horizons. If you only go to the places you already know and trust, you are likely to miss out on a lot of good and/or fun stuff.
Sree complains about navigating around the top 101 list:
What I didn't like is the internal navigation on the list. Once you click into a category on the main list page, you're reading about an individual site and you can get to others within the category (so far, so good). But if you use the provided navigation, you cannot easily get back to the master list; instead you end up on an older section of site, with out-of-date listings. So I had to keep using my browser's back button to get to the master list.
He would find this pretty much a non-issue if he were using a modern tabbed browser, say, Firefox.

Posted by Steve on October 26, 2004

October 25, 2004


For the uninitiated GLAT stands for Google Labs Aptitude Test. Its been around for a while. Google appears to have posted this 4 page version back in September.

so why bring it up now. Well, a printed version is popping up on college campuses around the country right now. There are likely stacks of them in your local campus geek center or perhaps they were inserts in the campus newspaper today which is how I discovered them.

It is pretty entertaining to read the questions. Things like:

9. This space left intentionally blank. Please fill it with something that improves upon emptiness.
This one has the most room for an answer:
5. What's broken with Unix? How would you fix it?
Some are multiple choice:
6. On your first day at Google, you discover that your cubicle mate wrote the textbook you used as a primary resource in your first year of graduate school. Do you:
Well, you can go read the choices yourself.

Posted by Steve on October 25, 2004

Useful Employment?

A letter to comment spammers.

Via Banagor.

Posted by Steve on October 25, 2004

October 24, 2004

It Won't Change My Vote

Nope, nothing is going to change my vote now. The ballot is marked, sealed, and headed to the elections office via the USPS.

Those of you who have not voted yet might ponder just how many explosive attacks, be it car bombs, suicide belts, roadside bombs, etc., can be accomplished if you have 380 tons of high powered explosives at your disposal.

Shouldn't someone have been fired long ago?

Via Matthew Gross.

Posted by Steve on October 24, 2004 | Comments (1)

October 23, 2004

Halloween Horror Movie Quiz

Christopher Bahn, proprietor of Incoming Signals, has a quiz for you.

Oh yes, my score, not good: 46%. Well, again, maybe this is a good score as I haven't spent time watching some of these cinematic wonders.

Posted by Steve on October 23, 2004 | Comments (1)

October 22, 2004

Who Are They Voting For?

Reason asks some folks:

As Campaign 2004 entered its home stretch, we asked a variety of policy wonks, journalists, thinkers, and other public figures in the reason universe to reveal for whom they are voting this fall, for whom they pulled the lever last time around, their most embarrassing presidential vote, and their favorite president of all time.
The respondents come down on all sides. Snippets from the responses:
  • Glenn Garvin:
    2004 vote: I live in Florida. My votes are randomly assigned based on the interaction of our voting machines, the Miami-Dade Election Commission, and passing UFOs.
  • Glenn (no surprise here)Reynolds:
    2004 vote: Most likely George Bush, and for one reason: the war. I�m having trouble trusting Kerry on that.
  • Robert Higgs:
    2004 vote: I never vote. I don�t wish to soil my hands.
  • Jude Wanniski:
    2004 vote: I�m leaning toward Kerry because I prefer recession to imperialist war, but Bush might tempt me back by firing Cheney, Rumsfeld, and company.
The whole piece is entertaining and instructive. Go read it.

Via Ogged and Matthew Yglesias both of whom think there might be some trends hidden in this stuff.

Posted by Steve on October 22, 2004

Modern Interhuman Communication

These guys are crying out for a neural netlink. And it is not a pretty picture.

Via The Gamer's Nook.

Posted by Steve on October 22, 2004

Happy Second

It's Tegan's second blogaversary.

Posted by Steve on October 22, 2004

Friday Ark

Cats, Dogs, Spiders and ? every Friday.

I'll post links to sites that have Friday (or shortly thereafter) photos of their chosen animals as I see them (no photoshops and no humans).

Leave a comment or trackback to this post and I'll add yours to the list. If there is interest I'll keep this as a weekly feature.

Privious editions: 10/15/2004, 10/8/2004, 10/1/2004 and 9/24/2004.


DogsBirdsOther VertebratesInvertebratesDidn't Make It

Posted by Steve on October 22, 2004 | Comments (4)

October 21, 2004

Slap Vote

This is probably not a good predictor of the election outcome but for what its worth as of 20:57 GMT today kerry had received 50.297% of the slaps. Assuming slaps do not equal support (not true in all subcultures) bush is slightly ahead.

Go slap one of'm a few times.

Posted by Steve on October 21, 2004 | Comments (2)

October 20, 2004

Open the Books!

I'm sure that there are some student athletes playing for big time football programs but I don't think this guy is one of them:

But Goodrum, who played the last two years at Los Angeles Valley College, has no second thoughts.

"Nothing against Washington," he said. "I just felt more comfortable staying down here and going to USC."

There were rumblings at the time he committed to UW that USC wanted him as well but wasn't promising a scholarship. So Goodrum signed with UW. But he ended up failing a history class and didn't graduate in time to enroll at UW for spring practice as planned. Goodrum said the failed class was not just a convenient way to get out of his commitment to UW.

"My teacher wouldn't help me out," Goodrum said. "I told him about my scholarship to Washington, but he said there was no way to pass the class."

Once he failed to enroll at UW, however, he was free from his letter, and by then, a scholarship at USC had opened up.

Excuse, me! "My teacher wouldn't help me out,..."??? Uhh, junior college history classes aren't that tough to begin with. Open the books, read them, learn something, earn a grade.

The sad thing is that there are many more just like this guy taking up spaces that could be better utilized by real students.

Posted by Steve on October 20, 2004

October 19, 2004

Public Library of Science (PLOS)

PLoS has published the inaugral issue of PLoS Medicine.

PLos is

...a non-profit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource.
Enjoy the reading!

Via beSpacific.

Posted by Steve on October 19, 2004

Failed Administration

cheney tells us:

"The biggest threat we face now as a nation is the possibility of terrorists ending up in the middle of one of our cities with deadlier weapons than have ever before been used against us -- biological agents or a nuclear weapon or a chemical weapon of some kind to be able to threaten the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans," Cheney said.
This is as clear a statement of failure by the current administration as I have seen. What they have been doing during the last four years has not worked.

Via Prometheus 6.

Posted by Steve on October 19, 2004

Brand Protection

I hadn't previously noticed NameProtect's robot crawling my site though it looks like they have been in business since 2001. They are probably crawling your site as well:

NameProtect is a Digital Asset Protection company that provides eMarket Intelligence to leading corporations. We proactively provide protection of brand assets, recovery of diverted revenues and detection of online identity theft and fraud in today's global economy.
Their business model seems to make sense and I suspect that they are not the only player in this niche.

Posted by Steve on October 19, 2004

Corporate Speech

British tobacco companies are upset about some regulatory restrictions on advertising:

Tobacco companies have launched a High Court challenge to strict restrictions on advertising at the point of sale.

The regulations, contained in the 2002 Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act, limit the size and location of promotional material in retail outlets.

But the manufacturers say they are an unlawful interference with their commercial freedom of speech under human rights laws.

If these businesses want human rights then they should get what they wish. Let's start with the elimination of limited liability and all the other government granted special favors that swathe corporations.

Once they are structured as humans then, and only then, does it make sense for them to raise the flag of human rights.

Via Vice Squad.

Posted by Steve on October 19, 2004

Impending Draft?

If recruiting doesn't meet the needs then expect a push for a draft no matter what the candidates say today:

Compounding the difficulty of recruiting, Nunes said, is the fact that seven out of 10 people who walk through the front door of a recruiting office aren't qualified for the military, for reasons ranging from criminal history to an inappropriate tattoo. The goal is to enlist at least one of the remaining three.

Colleges are the competition

Who knows which tattoos are inappropriate enough to keep you out? Seems this might be useful information to a lot folks in case a draft does come around.

Update: Mark Kleiman posts Yes, Virginia, there could be a draft.

Posted by Steve on October 19, 2004

October 18, 2004

Marriage Amendment

Should asexuals be included in the proposed amendment?

Posted by Steve on October 18, 2004

Jet Powered Cell Phones

And they might help keep you warm in the winter:

Though the turbine�s blades span an area smaller than a dime, they spin at more than a million revolutions per minute and are designed to produce enough electricity to power handheld electronics. In the foreseeable future, Epstein expects, his tiny turbines will serve as a battery replacement, first for soldiers and then for consumers. But he has an even more ambitious vision: that small clusters of the engines could serve as home generating plants, freeing consumers from the power grid, with its occasional black- and brownouts....

Epstein�s immediate goal, however, is to use these miniature engines as a cheap and efficient alternative to batteries for cell phones, digital cameras, PDAs, laptop computers, and other portable electronic devices. The motivation is simple: batteries are heavy and expensive and require frequent recharging. And they don�t produce much electricity, for all their size and weight.

On a per watt basis these things apparently will be smaller and more efficient then comparable fuel cells. But they do have a bit of an exhaust issue.

Read the rest.

Posted by Steve on October 18, 2004

October 17, 2004

Drama and Music Weekend

Yesterday the Modulator family spent the day together. First watching a fine performance of Thornton Wilder's Our Town and then a post play dinner.

I'll spend this evening with Karl Denson's Tiny Universe and Stockholm Syndrome. Conflicts preclude any of the rest of the family from joining.

Karl Denson is a recent favorite and I've been a Jerry Joseph fan for several years and am looking forward to seeing him in this new grouping.

Posted by Steve on October 17, 2004 | Comments (3)

October 15, 2004

Boycott or Buy? Part 2

In Boycott or Buy? Part 1 I encouraged each of you to make your own fair and balanced decision as how you might respond to the Sinclair Broadcasting issue. I still do.

Jim Henley reminds us, though, that it should not be an FCC issue at all:

It may arguably be bad business, in which case they'll pay, but it's not the FCC's business. I enjoyed the hell out of the Sundance Channel's live broadcast of the Vote for Change finale concert last night. That wasn't station owners using their facilities for partisan political purposes?
I enjoyed listening to Vote for Change on a local radio station and Jim's question jumped into mind just about two songs1 in...

I agree with Jim that it should not the FCC's business. Primarily because the FCC should not even exist.

Sinclair owns the stations so they should be able to broadcast what they want. We can use our channel changers or the power switch to watch or not watch and we can choose to buy or not buy from their sponsors.

However, Sinclair Broadcasting along with their media and corporate ilk exist in the form they do only with the complicity of their regulatory monitors partners and our their executive, legislative, and judicial representatives. As long as this parasitic partnership rides on our backs it seems perfectly reasonable to pour sugar in its tanks and turn one limb against the other to the extent possible.

1I enjoyed almost all the music I heard on this broadcast and these late in the show pieces were amongst my favorites: Dave Matthews performing Don't Drink the Water and Ant's Marching and Springsteen's Star Spangled Banner>Born in the USA.

Posted by Steve on October 15, 2004

Friday Ark

Cats, Dogs, Spiders and ? every Friday.

I'll post links to sites that have Friday (or shortly thereafter) photos of their chosen animals as I see them (no photoshops and no humans).

Leave a comment or trackback to this post and I'll add yours to the list. If there is interest I'll keep this as a weekly feature.

Privious editions: 10/8/2004, 10/1/2004 and 9/24/2004.


DogsBirdsOther VertebratesInvertebratesDidn't Make It

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

October 14, 2004

5 Questions for george

Read'm here.

Posted by Steve on October 14, 2004

October 13, 2004

Today's Debate Post

Will w be wearing his augmentation unit tonight?

Via Arthur Silber.

Posted by Steve on October 13, 2004

Can Al-Anon Help You?

Just in case you've been wondering about this Liz Lawley offers some help:

If the drinking in someone else�s life troubles you�whether it�s occurring now, or happened in the past�think about attending a meeting.
Or as one of the commenters to this post suggests:
I'd change that to read "If the irrational or unreasonable behavior in someone else's life troubles you and that person denies the behavior exists, or refuses to take responsibility for the behavior -whether it's occurring now, or happened in the past-think about attending a meeting.
Read the rest of Liz's post!

Update: Ooops, corrected spelling error.

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

October 12, 2004


I haven't thoroughly investigated Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) but their byline suggests that they have taken a step in the right direction:

Current and former members of law enforcement who support drug regulation rather than prohibition.
I'd rather see outright freedom but if we have to go through a regulatory stage on the way that is better then the current morass.

At first look this organization looks to be worth of support and they have a flyer you can print and hand out to your local law enforcement folks.

There is a lot of written material linked on their site and I'm sure I'll have more to say as I read through it.

Via ...muttered the ogre.

Posted by Steve on October 12, 2004

Boycott or Buy?

It will depend on your fair and balanced evaluation of the Sinclair Broadcasting ultimatum to its stations to show this a few days before the election.

Here is the list of Sinclair adverstisers. If you write a note to one or more of these folks be polite.

List via Maxspeak.

Posted by Steve on October 12, 2004

October 11, 2004


Rescued by yesterday's word of the day from the Wordsmith.

I could blame writer's block for the low level of posting over the past few days but now I can say that I feel very hebetudinous.

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

October 10, 2004

Pickin', Stompin', and Bouncin'

We spent the evening with the Yonder Mountain String Band and we are spent!

Some preferred the first set and others, including me, the second. Perhaps because they opened the second set with my t-shirt of the evening: Morning Dew. It was interesting to hear this in blue grass rendition except that, as through the rest of the show, Jeff Austin's vocals were pretty buried in the sound. One of our group, one who can often listen to a Dark Star and tell you year and venue, said he didn't recognize it until half way through.

They were all blue grass all night and the crowd of 8-900 loved it. And, except for the vocals, we did too.

Posted by Steve on October 10, 2004 | Comments (5)

October 9, 2004

Who Dies?

Sure, you all hope it will not be one of your favorite characters:

"Yes, sorry," Rowling said, when asked yesterday on her Web site whether there would be casualties in her upcoming book, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince."
But, I suspect that Professor Bainbridge has this one correct:
Personally, I suspect that Dumbledore's days are numbered. Rowling has hewed pretty closely to Joseph Campbell's Hero Myth thus far in the Harry Potter series.
The Professor has more.

Posted by Steve on October 9, 2004 | Comments (2)

October 8, 2004

Back on His Meds

Kevin Drum wonders whether bush was off his meds tonight:

It's one thing to be passionate, but it's quite another to look like you're off your meds and need to be restrained.

I'm not the only one who noticed this, am I?

Perhaps, though, it is the other way around as Lauren suggests:
Did Bushie resume his 1970�s penchant for nose candy? He seems awfully jumpy. Perhaps edgy is a better word for it.
Well, this would explain the hyper early behavior and the relatively more controlled behavior later in the presentation.

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

Debate Question

Lots of folks have posed potential questions for bush and kerry. Here's one from Say Uncle:

So, the drug war costs billions and billions and billions of dollars. Many innocent, peaceable citizens have been needlessly killed by a police force that has been essentially militarized. People are not secure in their homes because of no knock warrants and search warrants issued based on the frequently false testimony of criminals. Property is taken and lives are destroyed over a few minuscule amounts of drugs. Is it worth that price to confiscate an infinitesimally small fraction of a percent of the drug supply in this country?
Both candidates will, though, say similar BS. Something like: "Yes, it is worth it..followed by a bunch of babble with an emphasis on being tougher then the other guy." And, most of the brainwashed public will nod knowingly and forget the question was even asked.

I suspect that it will take more direct action than a question at a debate to bring an end to this long reign of domestic and foreign terrorism.

Posted by Steve on October 8, 2004

Global Test

The Rude Pundit has provided kerry an answer to tonight's question about the global test thing.

Warning: this is, as you might expect from the Rude one, x-rated.

Via Atrios.

Posted by Steve on October 8, 2004

Cats, Dogs, Spiders and ? every Friday.

I'll post links to sites that have Friday (or shortly thereafter) photos of their chosen animals as I see them (no photoshops and no humans).

Leave a comment or trackback to this post and I'll add your site to the list. If there is interest I'll keep this as a weekly feature.

Last weeks edition is here.


DogsBirdsInvertebratesDidn't Make It

Posted by Steve on October 8, 2004 | Comments (9)

October 7, 2004

Just Say No

This library gets it right:

The FBI wants to know who checked out a book from a small library about Osama Bin Laden. But the library isn't giving out names, saying the government has no business knowing what their patrons read.
Via a puzzled Mac:
I am delighted that the library in question did fight back. But I�m still puzzled at why a margin doodler poses so much of a threat. Dude, more than half the U.S. borders and ports aren�t covered by Homeland Security and we�re out there trying to harrass people who write in library books?
Note, we would not know anything about this if the FBI had used the Patriot Act to request this information. Well, we might. But, then, whoever made it public would have been arrested and charged with illegal disclosure of information. You see, the deal is that citizens aren't supposed to know what their government is doing.

Posted by Steve on October 7, 2004

From Humble Beginnings

Atrios on April 17, 2002:

I wonder how long it will be until literally dozens of people are reading this on an almost monthly basis.
Atrios has had, as of 12:01 AM on 10/6/04, 32,517,016 visitors.

Posted by Steve on October 7, 2004 | Comments (1)

October 6, 2004

The Long Tail

In this post, Should Government Subsidize Mortgages, Tyler Cowen recommends this book for data on credit rationing. So, I hop over to Amazon to evaluate and what do I find: the price is $115 for a 384 page book with an Amazon sales rank of 1,755,070.

In his next post, Making Money From Niche Demand, he recommends, as do I, this article:

on how falling fixed costs (my terminology) will revolutionize the world of culture.
The long tail is the bottom end of the sales power curve which, according to the article, is where outfits like Amazon, Netflix, Rhapsody and iTunes are getting most of their revenue. For Amazon this is books with sales rank of under 130,000.

I might have considered purchasing Tyler's book if he had been following some of the pricing suggestions in the article, for instance: Cut the Price in half. Now lower it. Sure, they are talking specifically about downloadable content but if you are ranked 1,755,070 following that suggestion just might move you up the rankings a bit and might make you a bit more money.

Update (10/7): Joi Ito has more on this. Also read the comments to his post for why $.99 might be too low, at least for some types of material.

Posted by Steve on October 6, 2004

Best vp Debate Post I've Read

Sorry, I've avoided most of them so the sample is small. It will be difficult, if not impossible, for any to top Jim Henly. He nailed it!

Posted by Steve on October 6, 2004

Debate Fact Checking

Avedon Carol fact checks the Washington Post fact checker and cheney has breakfast with edwards in 2001.

Posted by Steve on October 6, 2004

Parents Wrong, School Administrator Wrong

Regular readers will know that Modulator probably wouldn't be putting a photo montage of US presidents on the wall of a classroom. However, lots of teachers do this.

Even in an election year, there is no justification for including a challenger in or removing an incumbent from this type of montage.

Via Ravenwood.

Update 10/6: Commenter Lis Riba notes that the school district presents this much differently then the above linked article.

Apparently it was not a montage of all the presidents just w. But there is much more. Read the disctrict press release (linked above) and this extensive analysis of the incident.

Update 2 (10/6): Tom has a must read clarified version of the district press release.

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

October 5, 2004


I suppose it is just me that did not know this word means the study of flags.

But there are at least two of us that did not know that a lot of cities in the US have flags.

The good news is that the cities apparently didn't waste too much money on these flags. Most of them are simply ugly.

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

Living Up to The Commitment

It is to bad that cheney-bush failed to live up to this cheney statement from the 2000 cheney-lieberman debate:

I think this is an extraordinarily important decision we're going to make on November 7. We're really going to choose between what I consider to be an old way of governing ourselves of high levels of spending, high taxes, an ever more intrusive bureaucracy, or a new course, a new era, if you will. And Governor Bush and I want to offer that new course of action.
In 2000 Cheney almost captured Ann Althouse with this approach.

Well, maybe we did get a new course, a new era. One defined by higher levels of spending, a more intrusive bureacracy, increased secrecy, and, yes, more federal-corporate cronyism.

Via Professor Bainbridge.

Posted by Steve on October 5, 2004

Government Helping the Needy

I know some of you have probably forked over big bucks for that new HDTV set and are enjoying some excellent picture quality. I haven't and have yet to see one at a size and price point that makes me say, "I have got to have that." And, I also haven't seen the value in buying that digital cable package. Basic does just fine for the few hours a week that I watch TV.

Since there are apparently a lot of other folks like me out and about our ever helpful federal government is accelerating its work on behalf of big electronics:

It's one of the biggest technical changes in television since color TV: the digital transition. And because many Americans remain in the dark about it, federal regulators began an education campaign Monday to enlighten them.
Remind me, please, just why it was congress needed to set a target date for "all digital" and why the FCC needs to be spending tax money to act as the marketing arm for the electronics industry in what seems no more than a wealth transfer exercise.

When the perceived value hits the right point people will buy the stuff in droves.

Posted by Steve on October 5, 2004 | Comments (2)

October 4, 2004

I Don't Know Whether to Laugh or Cry

Whichever, this pretty well reflects what I'm hearing from the bush campaign.

It is pretty clear that they have failed in their primary mission to protect the American people from threats to their life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

An appropriate campaign message, and one that might win my vote, would go something like this: We and our allies around the world have eliminated terrorism as a threat.

Via The Apostropher.

Posted by Steve on October 4, 2004 | Comments (1)

Your Name is How Popular?

This site ranks a name by popularity over the last 100 years. It appears to be US focused.

It is an entertaining few minutes of diversion...unless you get hooked.

Via Incoming Signals.

Posted by Steve on October 4, 2004

October 3, 2004

Sunday Reading

Digby exposes the man behind the curtain (via Scott) and Mark Kleiman reports on digging holes.

Posted by Steve on October 3, 2004

October 2, 2004

Olympic Humor

Tom, at The Funny Farm, has a select list of fine quotes from Olympic athletes and broadcasters. This is probably the tamest:

3. Paul Hamm, Gymnast: "I owe a lot to my parents, especially my mother and father."
Most of the rest are on the risque side.

Posted by Steve on October 2, 2004


S. Y. Affolee saw her doppleganger today.

Some years ago I moved into one unit of a small duplex. The other unit was unoccupied.

One day I came home from work to find some folks moving furniture, etc., into the empty unit. It was another guy, Dan, moving in and I swear I was looking at myself.

A few months later someone knocked on my front door. I opened it and the woman who was there broke into a big smile, "Hi, Dan. I wasn't sure whether this was your door!"

It was his mother mistaking me for him.

Have you met your doppelganger?

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

Of Mice and Failed Missions

Folks riding Washington's ferry system will be subjected to an increasing number of vehicle searches. Here is one reaction:

In the interest of national security, I understand the Washington State Patrol is instituting random car searches at our ferry terminals ("Feds order new level of security for ferries," Times page one, Sept. 29).

And so while they are busy trampling our rights by digging through our possessions, I hope they regret ever encountering my car.

I have a family and I have not seen the floor mats of my car since 2002. A single road trip requires at least six stuffed animals, 10 pounds of books, a box of crayons and a note pad for my child. My husband takes at least three coats, a hat and an extra seat cushion.

Added to that pile, which is now threatening to swamp the aforementioned kid in the back seat, are my backpack, clothing, a first-aid kit and occasionally a wetsuit. I have not mentioned the trunk.

That is because a mouse has taken up residence in it � we'll call him "Kenny."


If the US government had been doing its job for the last 4 years, had accomplished it mission, we wouldn't be reading this today!

Do go read the rest of the story.

Posted by Steve on October 2, 2004

October 1, 2004

September's Top Referrers

On the right side bar is the updated roll of Modulator's 21 top referrers for the month of September (there was a 3 way tie for # 19). Number 21 produced 11 referrals compared to 9 for number 21 in July.

July churn: 11 blogs dropped and 7 new ones added compared to 5 and 10 in August.

Overall traffic was up about 15.1% from August and up 202% from September 03 (no I do not expect the year to year growth 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!

Top Referrer: Resurrection Song! Thanks, Zombyboy.

Top search phrase/word: live strong wrist bands

Most popular post: Live Strong

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

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 October 1, 2004

Friday Ark

Cats, Dogs, Spiders and ? every Friday.

I'll post links to sites that have Friday (or shortly thereafter) photos of their chosen animals as I see them (no photoshops and no humans).

Leave a comment or trackback to this post and I'll add your site to the list. If there is interest I'll keep this as a weekly feature.

Last weeks edition is here.



Posted by Steve on October 1, 2004 | Comments (4)