August 31, 2005

Leavin' New Orleans

A few days ago I was one of the smug ones mentioned below but from what I've seen, heard and learned since Katrina wreaked its destruction this is about right:

Look at the reporters who are "incensed" by the rampant looting. Look at the smugness from those distant from the situation who chastise the dumb southerners for not evacuating when they had the chance. It blows their minds how many idiots stayed to wait it out. It makes them shake their heads and make "tsk-tsk" noises into their shiny microphones.

Well, fuck the lot of them.

New Orleans and Biloxi are not rich cities. They are poor southern cities disproportionately filled with poor southern people -- people who may not have reliable transportation, people who live hand-to-mouth, people who have nowhere else to go, even if they had the means to get there.

Read the rest.

Via Making Light.

Posted by Steve on August 31, 2005 | Comments (1)

Meth Madness

2,284,571 current high school students will die in five years.

Your favorite government probably thinks you'd be interested in buying a bridge as well.

Via The Agitator.

Posted by Steve on August 31, 2005

Living With or In Spite of Nature

Mark Kleiman has saved me figuring out how to post these tough questions about where we live and to what extent we should try to overcome the risks inherent in living in some geographies.

Via MaxSpeak.

Posted by Steve on August 31, 2005

Government in Action

Well, I am neither speechless or flabbergsted but as John Cole says:

You cant make this shit up. What sane person would?
There was no reason to expect the bushies behavior to change just because the AG changed.

Government is going to behave this way until our focus becomes individual life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. When we focus on these issues neither the feds, the states or the American taliban have a role with respect to non-fraudulant, non-forced activities between consenting individuals.

Posted by Steve on August 31, 2005

August 30, 2005

Opera's Tenth Anniversary

I'm a happy Firefox user however it is Opera's tenth anniverary and if you'd like to give what reportedly is an excellent browser a try they are giving out free registration codes while they last. Not really a big deal but it does let you use Opera without the adds.

Posted by Steve on August 30, 2005

Katrina In Action

Steven Taylor found this outstanding satellite image of Katrina. It looks like the eye is just making landfall.

Anyone have links to any satellite images of the gulf coast from today?

Posted by Steve on August 30, 2005

Access Problems Today

FYI, Modulator's hosting service was hit by a major denial of service attack this afternoon and problems in the AT&T and TWTelecom networks caused problems earlier this morning.

Of course, I know you were more worried about getting here than to all the to be unnamed heavy hitters who were also impacted.

You can read all about it here.

Posted by Steve on August 30, 2005

Texas Tops The Nation

Yep, they are tops:

Texas has retained the dubious distinction of having the highest proportion of people without health insurance coverage, according to figures released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

In a comparison of states using a three-year average for 2002-2004, 25.1 percent of Texans didnt have health insurance coverage. Minnesota had the lowest proportion, at 8.5 percent.

But is it insurance or something else that these people are without?

Posted by Steve on August 30, 2005

Tomorrow is Arriving Quickly

Susan Crawford already has a copy of Ray Kurzweil's new book The Singularity is Near. I'm a bit jealous.

Readers of science fiction and tech geeks are already familiar with the concept of the singularity. The rest of you may want to catch up a bit by taking a quick read of this Wikipedia article.

Luckily, it looks like Crawford will be posting a bit as she reads and it looks like there will be plenty to contemplate and discuss:

Kurzweil focuses on complexity, noting that evolution produces increasing order, and that technology can extend evolution by building ever-more-efficiently on this order. Very quick feedback loops are all around us, pushing the rate of technological change along and producing faster and smaller devices. Meanwhile, biological evolution continues, but at such a slow rate that it hardly matters.

He boldly predicts that computers as we know them will disappear by the end of this decade, to be replaced by virtual reality environments. No more offices by 2020. He suggests it's time to invest in tiny sensors and natural language search engines that can topple Google.

As with all such futuristic discussions things are never quite as predicted however as Crawford notes:
Even if he's only half right (or even less than half right), Kurzweil's work suggests that it's a good time to be alive and interested in the effect of technology on human beings.
Which is one good reason I'd like to see this program be dramatically successful. It really is fun to be alive!

Sadly, those of us not getting review copies will not get to see this book until after it's September 22 release date.

Posted by Steve on August 30, 2005

August 29, 2005

Cloeaning House in Arizona

The Arizona Daily Star is doing a tiny bit of housecleaning:

Finally, we've decided that syndicated columnist Ann Coulter has worn out her welcome. Many readers find her shrill, bombastic and mean-spirited. And those are the words used by readers who identified themselves as conservatives.
They aren't going to over do it though. There is a replacement:
Taking her place on Saturdays will be Tony Snow, host of "The Tony Snow Show," syndicated nationally on Fox News Radio, and "Weekend Live with Tony Snow" on Fox News Channel. He has worked at a number of daily newspapers and is a former speechwriter for former President George H.W. Bush.
I've listened to him briefly a few times and he seems to be a Hannity lite. Some folks are excited to see Coulter get the deserved boot but Snow will get more respect and tend to solidify the rank and file. Coulter could nauseate folks enough that a few of them might have been driven to see the bushies as no friends of freedom and liberty.

Posted by Steve on August 29, 2005

A Bit of Wierdness and Industriousness

Click on through Jaquandor's post to see how one man incorporated one of life's large misfortunes into his daily routine.

Is that really the muscle you'd want to build up?

Posted by Steve on August 29, 2005

August 26, 2005

Economics Seminars Available Via MP3 and Podcast

While I can't couch for either the providor or the instructors I can't think of any good reason not to at least listen in on these seminars presented by the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Heck, the mp3s might make good drive time listening.

Posted by Steve on August 26, 2005

Foot Circles

Go ahead, try it:

1. While sitting at your desk, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles with it.

2. Now, while doing this, draw the number "6" in the air with your right hand. Your foot will change direction!

Same thing happens with the left foot. Can you keep your foot going clockwise?

Can anyone explain the mechanisms in play here?

Via Its a Mad Mad Mad Life!

Posted by Steve on August 26, 2005 | Comments (4)

Friday Ark #49

Cats, Dogs, Spiders and ? every Friday.

We'll post links to sites that have Friday (plus or minus a few days) photos of their chosen animals (photoshops at our discretion and humans only in supporting roles). Watch the Exception category for rocks, beer, coffee cups, and....?

We will add your post to the list if you do one of the following:

  • Leave a comment or trackback to this post,
  • Use the Carnival Submission Form,
  • Email Modulator or
  • Our extensive staff finds it during our weekly search of the web
Of course, if our staff goes on strike then we will link only those posts someone tells us about.

Dog folks: remember to submit your links to the Carnival of the Dogs hosted by Mickey's Musings.

Cat folks: remember to submit your links to the Carnival of the Cats which goes up every Sunday and the 75th edition will be hosted this week by Annoying Little Twerp.

Bird folks: Remember to submit your links to I and the Bird: A Blog Carnival for Bird Lovers. The 5th edition will be hosted 9/1 by A DC Birding Blog.

And, check out Laurence's fine graphical analysis of Friday Ark boardings.

Arkive editions of the Friday Ark.

Cats

InvertebratesDogsBirdsOther VertebratesIn Memoriam
  • Hannah's World: Pepper: In Loving Memory
Didn't Make ItExceptions (inclusion not guaranteed)

For other current carnivals check out The Conservative Cat's Carnival Page and The TTLB Uber Carnival.

Note for Haloscan Users: Haloscan started (the end of July) rejecting trackbacks if they were submitted "too rapidly" by the same host. I don't know what the timer is but it is long enough so that it was very difficult to ping everyone that is using Haloscan for trackbacks. I'm sure that they are doing this to try to hold back the tide of trackback spam but it makes the service pretty useless for carnival type posts. Perhaps you can contact them and urge some different solution. Update: Typepad appears to be doing the same thing. Everytime I update the Ark it appears the timers are reset and the long list of MT autogenerated pings fail. Yecchhhh....

Posted by Steve on August 26, 2005 | Comments (23)

August 25, 2005

Apply As Necessary

How could we have been so credulous? so ignorant? It seems that once you decide to believe, your faith becomes more precious than truth, more real than reality.

Heda Margolius Kovaly, Under A Cruel Star: A Life in Prague 1941-1968

Posted by Steve on August 25, 2005

August 24, 2005

To Daydream or Not

Does too much daydreaming or, if you will, too much unfocused time contribute to Alzheimer's?

The researchers compared PET scans, MRI images, and other data from 764 participants with dementia, mild dementia, or no dementia. The images revealed that posterior cortical regions of the brain, including the posterior cingulated, retrosplenial, and lateral parietal cortex, were active in the "default state" of young adults without dementia. They were also the regions attacked by amyloid plaques in older adults with Alzheimer's.

The "default state" is the term Dr. Buckner and colleagues use to describe the brain's activity when it is not concentrating on a particular task but musing, daydreaming, or retrieving pleasant memories.

The study also found that metabolic abnormalities and atrophy emerged in these daydreaming areas of the brain during the early stages of Alzheimer's.

Even the brain's relatively inactive daydreaming mode requires considerable energy, and the researchers speculated that an accumulated lifetime of metabolic activity might lead to wear and tear that disposes default areas of the brain of the brain to amyloid deposition, metabolic disruption, and atrophy.

Let me, then, suggest an alternate hypothesis: amyloid plaque invasion represents an atrophy of the posterior cortical regions. In other words it is an underuse phenomena that has as its proximal cause radio, television, stereos, mp3 players, etc. Time folks once spent in the default state has been preempted by the always on sounds of these devices. It should be fairly easy to determine whether default state activity is turned off when listening/watching these devices.

Another unintended consequence of the always on society may be an overall reduction in creativity, even overall cultural intelligence. Test this yourself. If you always have something on, even just for background when you are cooking, doing the dishes, jogging, etc., turn it off for 30 minutes a day. Over the course of a week observe the difference in the quality of your mental activity during the off time. Some of you may not be able to handle the intensity of the change. But that's part of the point.

Update 8/26: Lindsay Beyerstein comments on this as do her commentors.

Posted by Steve on August 24, 2005 | Comments (4)

August 23, 2005

Notes From On The Road

We are back.

Well, some portion is back. After 10 days and nearly 4900 miles of driving I know it was not a vacation. Even with a full night's sleep at home behind me I'm still fogged.

We saw a lot of bikers on the the road. Most, but not all, were heading to/from their annual gathering in Sturgis, South Dakota.

Here's a couple questions:

  1. Does it count to haul your chopper to the rally in the back of your truck?

  2. How do bikers avoid bug splat? Most of the ones we saw had no windshield, no helmet, maybe sunglasses and a grimace, that, well, made you think they might have just landed a mouthful of insect protein. Seriously, though, even in our daytime driving we had to deal with mass amounts of sticky stuff on the windshield and front of the hood.
We were glad we missed the tornadoes that touched down in Dane County, Wisconsin by 24 hours. On the other hand, Mrs Modulator has still never seen a tornado.

Posted by Steve on August 23, 2005 | Comments (1)

August 19, 2005

Friday Ark #48

Cats, Dogs, Spiders and ? every Friday.

We'll post links to sites that have Friday (plus or minus a few days) photos of their chosen animals (photoshops at our discretion and humans only in supporting roles). Watch the Exception category for rocks, beer, coffee cups, and....?

Alert! Alert! We will not be able to post updates to The Ark during the day Friday, Saturday or Sunday. We will try to catch up in the evenings. Also, be aware that trackbacks to Modulator have been having some problems so make sure yours works. If not use one of the other methods mentioned below.

We will add your post to the list if you do one of the following:

  • Leave a comment or trackback to this post,
  • Use the Carnival Submission Form,
  • Email Modulator or
  • Our extensive staff finds it during our weekly search of the web
Of course, if our staff goes on strike then we will link only those posts someone tells us about.

Dog folks: remember to submit your links to the Carnival of the Dogs hosted by Mickey's Musings.

Cat folks: remember to submit your links to the Carnival of the Cats which goes up every Sunday and the 74th edition will be hosted this week by Running Scared.

Bird folks: Remember to submit your links to I and the Bird: A Blog Carnival for Bird Lovers. The 4th edition is up at Milk River Blog.

And, check out Laurence's fine graphical analysis of Friday Ark boardings.

Arkive editions of the Friday Ark.

Cats

InvertebratesDogsBirdsOther VertebratesIn Memoriam
Didn't Make ItExceptions (inclusion not guaranteed)

For other current carnivals check out The Conservative Cat's Carnival Page and The TTLB Uber Carnival.

Note for Haloscan Users: Haloscan started (the end of July) rejecting trackbacks if they were submitted "too rapidly" by the same host. I don't know what the timer is but it is long enough so that it was very difficult to ping everyone that is using Haloscan for trackbacks. I'm sure that they are doing this to try to hold back the tide of trackback spam but it makes the service pretty useless for carnival type posts. Perhaps you can contact them and urge some different solution. Update: Typepad appears to be doing the same thing. Everytime I update the Ark it appears the timers are reset and the long list of MT autogenerated pings fail. Yecchhhh....

Posted by Steve on August 19, 2005 | Comments (16)

August 16, 2005

On The Road

8/16 (Bumped to top): Still traveling with little time for posting.

8/13: The Modulator Staff will be on the road from 8/13-22. Posting will be very light. The Ark should board on Friday albeit with slow and sparse updates.

This post will be pushed to the top as needed.

Posted by Steve on August 16, 2005 | Comments (1)

Gas Prices

Greeting me over the free hotel breakfast this morning was yet another story about high gas prices plastered on the front page of USA Today (also free):

A handful of service stations in California, Illinois, Nevada, Washington state and Hawaii have begun selling self-serve unleaded regular gasoline for � gulp � $3 or more a gallon. Truckers are enduring three-buck diesel fuel in some places.
...
The drift toward the dreaded $3 mark would make gasoline the most expensive it has ever been even on an inflation-adjusted basis, not just a nominal one. Gas hit a record $1.417 in March 1981, the Energy Department says. Adjusted for inflation, that's $3.04 today.

Gas prices have a long way to go before $3 becomes the norm rather than the exception. The government said Monday that gas averaged a nominal record $2.550 a gallon, up 18.2 cents over the past week. Motorist club AAA said its average Monday was $2.48, up 7.1 cents overnight. Among states, California was the most expensive at $2.758; South Carolina the cheapest at $2.337.

We just drove 2000 miles. The AAA numbers closely match what we experienced. Highest prices in Washington State; 2.39-2.59 in Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana.

Who knows why the difference?

Update
: Zombyboy suggests in comments that sales taxes might be to story. Do they account for the difference? Some, but not enough. Federal taxes are the same everywhere so no impact (except your pocket book). California, where we hear about some of the highest prices has a state sales tax of $.18/gal. This is kind of mid range: Alaska is $.08 and Wisconsin $.32/gal.

I see the impact of zone pricing in my local community. Perhaps it also plays on the state and regional level.

Posted by Steve on August 16, 2005 | Comments (2)

August 12, 2005

Lie Yourself Thin?

This may work but it sure doesn't seem right:

In their battle against the bulge, desperate dieters have tried drugs, surgery, exercise, counseling, creams and even electrical fat-burning belts. Now some psychologists have a new idea: Lying.
Hell, this is no new idea. Cheaters, thieves and politicians lie all the time. It still does not make it acceptable.

Via Morford.

Posted by Steve on August 12, 2005

Friday Ark #47

Cats, Dogs, Spiders and ? every Friday.

We'll post links to sites that have Friday (plus or minus a few days) photos of their chosen animals (photoshops at our discretion and humans only in supporting roles). Watch the Exception category for rocks, beer, coffee cups, and....?

We will add your post to the list if you do one of the following:

  • Leave a comment or trackback to this post,
  • Use the Carnival Submission Form,
  • Email Modulator or
  • Our extensive staff finds it during our weekly search of the web
Of course, if our staff goes on strike then we will link only those posts someone tells us about.

Dog folks: remember to submit your links to the Carnival of the Dogs hosted by Mickey's Musings.

Cat folks: remember to submit your links to the Carnival of the Cats which goes up every Sunday and the 73nd edition will be hosted this week by Mind of Mog.

Bird folks: Remember to submit your links to I and the Bird: A Blog Carnival for Bird Lovers. The 4th edition will be hosted on 8/18 by Milk River Blog.

And, check out Laurence's fine graphical analysis of Friday Ark boardings.

Arkive editions of the Friday Ark.

Cats

InvertebratesDogsBirds
  • Dharma Bums: Kingfisher Diving for Food
  • 10,000 Monkeys and a Camera: Friday Creature: Hummingbird
  • Living the Scientific Life: Extinction is Forever: Red Knot (Calidris canutus rufa) and the rest of Birds in the News #22
  • 10,000 Birds: Our First Sora
  • No Fancy Name: Some of my duckies
Other VertebratesIn Memoriam
Didn't Make ItExceptions (inclusion not guaranteed)

For other current carnivals check out The Conservative Cat's Carnival Page and The TTLB Uber Carnival.

Note for Haloscan Users: Haloscan started (the end of July) rejecting trackbacks if they were submitted "too rapidly" by the same host. I don't know what the timer is but it is long enough so that it was very difficult to ping everyone that is using Haloscan for trackbacks. I'm sure that they are doing this to try to hold back the tide of trackback spam but it makes the service pretty useless for carnival type posts. Perhaps you can contact them and urge some different solution. Update: Typepad appears to be doing the same thing. Everytime I update the Ark it appears the timers are reset and the long list of MT autogenerated pings fail. Yecchhhh....

Posted by Steve on August 12, 2005 | Comments (16)

August 11, 2005

Squirming...

You guys may not want to read this....

Posted by Steve on August 11, 2005

August 10, 2005

keep It Off?

Cell phones won't be very useful if everyone keeps them turned off when they aren't using them which many may choose to do.

There is little reason to expect that this capability, if true, will not be abused.

Via Balko.

Posted by Steve on August 10, 2005 | Comments (1)

August 9, 2005

Nailing the Drug War

Steven Taylor gets it right:

However, it is impossible, I would argue, to look at the money we spend and the results we get and then state that our drug war policy makes any sense whatsoever.
Read the Rest. Then call your elected representatives and tell them you want the drug war, a war on the people of America (amongst others) stopped. Now.

Posted by Steve on August 9, 2005 | Comments (1)

RIP Jerry Garcia 8.1.42-8.9.95

It all rolls into one
and nothing comes for free
There's nothing you can hold
for very long
And when you hear that song
come crying like the wind
it seems like all this life
was just a dream
Stella Blue

Stella Blue, Lyrics by Robert Hunter



Also see Scott and John.

It's great to see the NYT note this day but for a much clearer view of Garcia, the band and their music Phil Lesh's recent book Searching for the Sound is well worth the time to read.

Update - Today's Music: The Jerry Garcia Band, Kean College, February 28, 1980

Update 2:
David Gans has more links and The Days Between which includes some words from Robert Hunter.

Posted by Steve on August 9, 2005

Ending the Wal-Mart Subsidy

Toward the end of a discussion of Wal-Mart's profits and its worker's wages Donald Johnson, posting at Body and Soul, makes an important point:

Reductio ad absurdums aside, maybe it is possible that there's a multiplier effect of some kind here, but it apparently involves government social programs stepping in to take care of Wal-Mart's inadequately-paid workers. So again, should the government go into the business of picking out efficient businesses and subsidizing them, or should it give health benefits to everyone?
Well, it should do neither.

First, if folks are choosing to stay employed at a low wage operation like Wal-Mart because, inter alia, the sum of their wages plus health maintenance provided by Medicaid disincents them to find more remunerative work then end the subsidy. You and I should not be supporting Wal-Mart's low wages via tax supported health maintenance programs.

Second, Wal-Mart is not the only business receiving this wage subsidy they just happen to be the large easy target. Others are both small and large. In addition, there are plenty of other business subsidies many of which are much more direct such as sugar price supports, import restrictions, tarriffs, etc.

Third, government should not be taking the fruits of your or my labor and using it to subsidize either directly or indirectly any business using any criteria.

So let's stop it now: no more sugar subsidies, no more tarriffs, no more Medicaid, real free trade, and so on.

Surely all those highly paid K-street folks who now make their living persuading our elected represrentatives their minions that their business should be subsidized with money that would be better used buying food, shoes and health care for our families can find useful work elsewhere at a wage appropriate to their productivity.

Posted by Steve on August 9, 2005 | Comments (2)

August 8, 2005

Kicking Out the DEA

Chavez, believing that the DEA is spying on him, has kicked them out of Venezuela:

Chavez, who regularly accuses the U.S. government of plotting against him, said ''the DEA isn't absolutely necessary for the fight against drug trafficking.''
To bad he didn't do it because he was ending Venezuela's involvement in the broken drug prohibition. There are a lot of other countries that would be better off if they also kicked the DEA out.

Via Talkleft.

Posted by Steve on August 8, 2005

August 5, 2005

Friday Ark

Cats, Dogs, Spiders and ? every Friday.

We'll post links to sites that have Friday (plus or minus a few days) photos of their chosen animals (photoshops at our discretion and humans only in supporting roles). Watch the Exception category for rocks, beer, coffee cups, and....?

We will add your post to the list if you do one of the following:

  • Leave a comment or trackback to this post,
  • Use the Carnival Submission Form,
  • Email Modulator or
  • Our extensive staff finds it during our weekly search of the web
Of course, if our staff goes on strike then we will link only those posts someone tells us about.

Note: Our staff will be with poor or no access from about mid-day Friday through the weekend. Comments, trackbacks and emails received by late morning will get on the main passenger list Friday. Later arrivals may not get boarded until Sunday night or Monday. It is doubtful that we will have any time this week to board folks who do not tell us they are ready.

So, do check through the trackbacks and comments for boarders you haven't visited yet!

Note for Haloscan Users: Starting last week Haloscan started rejecting trackbacks if they were submitted "too rapidly" by the same host. I don't know what the timer is but it is long enough so that it was very difficult to ping everyone that is using Haloscan for trackbacks. I'm sure that they are doing this to try to hold back the tide of trackback spam but it makes the service pretty useless for carnival type posts. Perhaps you can contact them and urge some different solution. Update: Typepad is now doing the same thing. Everytime I update the Ark it appears the timers are reset and the long list of MT autogenerated pings fail. Yecchhhh....

Dog folks: remember to submit your links to the Carnival of the Dogs hosted by Mickey's Musings.

Cat folks: remember to submit your links to the Carnival of the Cats which goes up every Sunday and the 72nd edition will be hosted this week by the founder This Blog is Full of Crap in conjunction with the Blogathon.

Bird folks: Remember to submit your links to I and the Bird: A Blog Carnival for Bird Lovers which is hosted this week by B and B.

And, check out Laurence's fine graphical analysis of Friday Ark boardings.

Arkive editions of the Friday Ark.

UPDATE 8/5 6:31 PM GMT: Staff has abandoned ship for today and will catch up Sunday night or Monday.

UPDATE 8/8 6:52 AM GMT: Staff has returned and after some sleep time will begin boarding waiting passengers.

Cats

InvertebratesDogsBirdsOther VertebratesIn MemoriamDidn't Make ItExceptions (inclusion not guaranteed)

Posted by Steve on August 5, 2005 | Comments (11)

August 4, 2005

ABCs of Modulator

PZ Myers posted this meme last December and since that seems like just yesterday I don't feel at all slow about just getting around to doing it here. I've put it in my tickler file to do again in a year to see what might change.

Here's a simple meme: go up to your browser's address bar, type a single letter, and note what URL pops up first in the autofill. Repeat for each letter of the alphabet. Supposedly, this will reveal something about who you are.


A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z

Hmmmm, I don't surf to any Qs. Very telling....

Via Pharyngula.

Posted by Steve on August 4, 2005

August 3, 2005

How To Tell

Apropos:

A sure way to tell if you're listening to collective improvisation is if the music is so jaw-droppingly intricate and flexible that no single mind could think it all up in such detail.

Phil Lesh, Searching for the Sound, 114.

Take a good look around...

Posted by Steve on August 3, 2005 | Comments (1)

w Talks Education

w spoke to reporters a bit about education yesterday:

"You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is 'yes.'"
I agree 100%. Seems like the basic stuff of education; why we have courses in biology, victorian literature, economics, comparative religions, mythology, and so forth.

Apparently w wasn't making a general statement though. It seems that he may have been talking about some kind of mixing of subjects; creating one of those hybrid multi-discline classes: something like Remedial Mysticism 100: Survey of Biology and Religious Mythology.

I wanted to rise to the bait yesterday but did not have time. There were, though, plenty of other voices...go read'm!

By the way, does anyone have a link to a transcript of w's interaction with that small group of reporters?

Posted by Steve on August 3, 2005

Government Office Overcomes Time

The Indiana Bureau of Motor vehicles is showing strong initiative when confronted by the market failure inherent to government operations:

In what has to join the list of Most Bizarre Government Policies Ever, BMV bosses have decided that hiding clocks is a great way to make long waits seem shorter. Without clocks to watch, people standing in long lines supposedly won't be able to complain about just how long they've been waiting.
I wonder if they also confiscate employee and patron watches...

As Balko says: Beyond Parody.

Posted by Steve on August 3, 2005

August 2, 2005

Reading Assignment:: The Hugo Nominees

We are deep into the summer and I suspect a few of you are pondering what to read during that next beach or mountain journey. You would be well served to pick not one but all of the Hugo Nominees for this year. The winner will be announced at Worldcon in Scotland on Sunday.

John Quiggen
has a brief review of the candidates and Professor Bainbridge notes his experience with two of the nominees.

I do recommend reading Charles Stross' Singularity Sky prior to Iron Sunrise.

Posted by Steve on August 2, 2005

August 1, 2005

The Last, Best Place

The Last Best Place may be in Montana, your own Last Best Place will be a unique personal choice, and for some it may be this place, which is in Montana, but that doesn't give this fool justification to claim a right to monopolize the name.

Posted by Steve on August 1, 2005 | Comments (1)

Learn By Example

w could learn a bit from this.

Posted by Steve on August 1, 2005

What's Up at LiveJournal?

Via David Isenberg:

The 50 most recent pix uploaded to livejournal, updated every 60 seconds. Some really great stuff. Occasionally NSFW, occasionally shocking, never a dull 60 sec.
You might not get through the current 50 before the next bunch pops up and you get sucked further in.

Warnings: Addictive, may not be work safe, may be offensive, may be extremely wierd or may be plain ol' mundane.

PS: The person doing this must have oodles of bandwidth. Just in case not, though, this is cool enough to warrant a click or two on the adds.

Posted by Steve on August 1, 2005