January 26, 2010

Some of the Best Sci-Fi I Know...

...is written by a gentleman whom I know only via Everything2, as sam512. His current story is called Fine Structure, and I'm willing to venture the opinion that it would be incredibly hard to make it work in dead tree format. I'm not even sure if it will have the impact on others that it did on me, given that I (and others) watched it be written, piece by piece, over several years. Can watching Babylon 5 all at once, untroubled by having to wait a week or months between pieces, compare to the experience of having done so for five years and watching it end, well? Probably not.

But it's a hell of a piece of writing. Give it a try.

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November 13, 2009

Ten years!

That's how long Everything2.com has been operational. E2 is a place I spend too much time; it's my version of the 'social networking' that has swept the web, but it much predates all that stuff. It may have turned into a niche little tiny backwater of the web, but damn it, it's been up *ten years*. In Web 2.0 years, yet. That's like a gazillion dog years, man.

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October 14, 2009

WANTED: Readers and writers

Hey, you! Yes, you. Do you enjoy reading things online? Do you, perhaps, write things online? Are you looking for a low-demand, no-pressure community full of interesting whackos to hang out with online, even if fully anonymously? If the answer to any of these questions is "yes" then we need you.

Who is we?

Everything2 needs you.

We're an online community ancient in internet years (our first decade is coming up in a month or so). We have current members dating back that far. We have newer members. We have content - oh, my lord have we got content. Tons and tons and tons of content.

But we have a problem. Our site was and is devoted to the written word, and as such, it is lacking in some of them there newfangled 'Web 2.0" niceties like images, sound, 'social networking' and the like. We know, we know, but keeping a community up and running on the web with no budget for 10 years has to count for something, right?

Anyway. We still attract new people, who wander by and check us out. But the fact is that most of them kids wants them new features - and few stay long enough to realize the breadth and the depth of the content we offer and the personalities who hang out there, because the wide swathes of text put them off.

If you, however, like to read and/or write online, I'm entreating you to come give us a try at Everything2.com. We won't ask for money. We won't ask for the email addressed of your friends so we can pursue them. Heck, we won't even ask your real name. All we want is a handle, an email address we can use solely for administrative purposes (password verification and recovery) and for you to come talk to us, read stuff, and hopefully write some stuff on E2.

I realize this sounds a bit desperate. And I'm not doing this as an officially sanctioned effort, or as an official designated representative of E2. I'm doing it as a member of a community that I dearly love, and that I want more people to find as fun and engaging as I do.

So, for the final time (promise) I ask: come browse and give us twenty minutes of your time. If you want some suggestions on what to come read to get a sense of the community, read the articles in the section entitled 'Cream of the Cool' and 'Recently Cooled' on the homepage. If you want some of our historical greats, ask me and I'll send you some links.

There is an FAQ for the site, if you want one.

Anyway, that's it. I hope to see some of you there.

Me? Oh. I'm to be found here. I don't advertise my 'real' identity, but I don't go out of my way to hide it either (there's a link to it on this blog's sidebar, f'rinstance).

Thanks for reading.

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September 22, 2009

Clear, concise and efficient webdesign

My new favorite web tool.

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September 11, 2009

I love Murakami

...so here is one of his illustrated short stories just for you and the betterment of your day.

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September 10, 2009

Contribute to Joe Wilson (R-SC)'s Democratic opponent.

Oh, if only Josiah Bartlet had been the President Rep. Joe Wilson had yelled 'You lie!' at. Then the verbal fireworks would've been entertaining. Still, if we can't indulge in the verbal squashing of disrespectful fucks like this, we can still participate in their electoral squashing. ActBlue will let you donate to Joe Wilson's Democratic opponent, Miller.

Apparently Mr. Miller has taken in over $100k since the importunate outburst.

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April 19, 2009

Cory Doctorow is a tit again

Boing Boing has a post up about a Guardian poll concerning the Pirate Bay verdict. Cory says that the poll shows an 'abject failure' at making the public feel that downloading music is illegitimate.

Um, except the poll shows 86%+ in favor of the Pirate Bay verdict when I look at it.

Cory? Earth to Cory?

Now, if you're trying to tell us someone hacked/stacked the poll, then say so. Even if that's your argument, though, it's a pretty weak follow on to your conclusions.

Update: Fair's fair. Cory posted a mea culpa explaining he misread the graph due to 5:30am posting. Fair.

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March 19, 2009

War on Terror Update

Best use of counterterrorism funding ever.

Welcome to the world, Caesar Penn Boothe, and you're a New Yorker, you lucky sod.

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January 5, 2009

The Grey Lady Shows Herself for the Slut She Is

This is just ridiculous. Note that Bolton is identified as the 'UN Ambassador 205-2006' with no mention of the fact that he was recalled because Congress wouldn't confirm him. Note that John Yoo is identified as 'a deputy attorney general' with no mention of the torture memos. Note that both these men, who whored for an administration more contemptuous of Congressional oversight than any in recent memory if not ever, are now suddenly whining that the Obama administration will 'bind America' to those hideous foreign diplomatic agreements without garnering proper Congressional approval - despite the fact that that Administration isn't even in office yet.

This is what is called brazen revisionism and image repair spin. The fact that the Times doesn't call them on it anywhere in the headers or footers is just unforgivable.

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December 8, 2008

Thank you Internet Archive!

One of my favorite pieces of Russian writing (well, writing about Russia, at least), which I had thought lost forever in the crumbling bits of the very early world wide web, has come back to me via the Wayback machine. I cannot recommend strongly enough that everyone read this, especially the chapter entitled "A short guide to the St Petersburg hangover.'

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November 12, 2008

Disturbed by Amazon and Scientology rumors

I don't know whether this is true, or what it means. But I'm going to be looking for Amazon to say something about how it is not censoring books based on input from a murdering cult. If they won't even address it, I'm going to have to consider taking my business elsewhere. I know I don't matter in the big picture, but I can't support businesses which acquiesce to pressure from Scientology.
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August 14, 2008

Awesome is made of win, which is made of...

...the components of win! I would be happy not even getting past the first one, but hey, they're all goodness.

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August 13, 2008

Oh my dear God no.

Please no.

The Day The Earth Stood Still was bad enough.

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August 11, 2008

Another Imagery Exercise

The Australian DoD has a Play Imagery Analyst exercise up for your self-evaluation and delectation.

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August 7, 2008

Um...Nature is really, really, really impressive.

Normally I'd balk at just posting a link to Gizmodo, but they have one of the absolute all-time coolest 'Hey, look what I did with my camera!' vids, ever.


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July 29, 2008

Fours galore

Damn and blast my brother, who showed me this puzzle. Careful, the solutions are on the same page, so don't scroll down.


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June 23, 2008

A moment to recite the Seven Words.

Rest well, George.

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February 14, 2008

Dear God, thank you

Every few weeks I realize I'm behind, and I run, squeeee-ing with joy, over to catch up. And nuggets of sheer brilliance await.

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December 7, 2007


Read this article, posted by Scott Horton, which simply offers a transcript of some of Senator Whitehouse's remarks on 12/7.

That's it.

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October 10, 2007

Hope Floats

A study shows that Americans, especially younger ones, seem to have decided that Christianity as it is practiced in the U.S. is MADE OF FAIL. Notably, it's too homophobic, too obsessed with politics, too hypocritical, and out of touch.

Fingers crossed.

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August 7, 2007

I never understood Dragonball Z

...but I watched it a few times trying to understand why some people liked it. God help me, that may be why this is so breathtakingly funny.

Also, I like Beavis and Butthead. There. Now you know.

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May 22, 2007

Give a lowlife celebrity, he's still a lowlife.

So dog-fighting should be winked at if famous football players are found doing it (and it's a felony) because non-famous people do it too? The football players should be let off because non-football players aren't prosecuted despite the fact that "everybody knows they do it?"

In other words, "I got no responsibility to be an example, and all you pay me for is to perform on the field, and how I conduct myself is none of your business despite the fact that I'm being paid to be a public figure."

Yeah, right.

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May 15, 2007

Comey testifies.

Damn. I mean, damn.

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April 14, 2007

Repairing the damage

This is a fascinating interview with Daniel Metcalfe, a senior attorney at the U.S. Dept. of Justice, who retired in 2006 as the director of the Office of Information and Privacy - the office that handles government secrecy and the FOIA. I won't comment on his opinions re: the current state of affairs at Justice, but he brings up a sharp point that few folks are discussing (at least, that I've seen). He notes:
But that strong tradition of independence over the previous 30 years was shattered in 2005 with the arrival of the White House counsel as a second-term AG. All sworn assurances to the contrary notwithstanding, it was as if the White House and Justice Department now were artificially tied at the hip -- through their public affairs, legislative affairs and legal policy offices, for example, as well as where you ordinarily would expect such a connection (i.e., Justice's Office of Legal Counsel). I attended many meetings in which this total lack of distance became quite clear, as if the current crop of political appointees in those offices weren't even aware of the important administration-of-justice principles that they were trampling.

This matters greatly to Justice Department employees of my generation. They are now the senior career cadre there, with the high-grade institutional knowledge that carries the department from one administration to the next, and when they see a new attorney general come from the White House Counsel's Office with a wave of young "Bushies" in tow and find their worst expectations quickly met, they just as quickly lose respect for nearly all of the department's political leadership, not to mention that leadership's "policy concerns." That respect is a vital thing, as fragile as it is essential, and now it's gone.

This is something that is extremely worrying. As the process of discovering what went on at DOJ grinds forward, pulled this way and that by various agendas and points of view (even if with the best motives), it must be kept clearly in mind that the DOJ is one of the rocks on which our Federal Government rests. The trust that the career personnel have in their leadership, in the very system within which that leadership operates, is critical. If enough DOJ personnel become disgusted or disillusioned or simply fired, at some point the 'glue' of any organization - the tacit knowledge base and value system shared among and passed down by its career or long-term members - will be lost or degraded.

Can we afford that? I contend that we cannot. We must keep in mind that any investigation of DOJ, of those who worked there, and what happened there, must be done with the clear understanding that the objective is the preservation and, if necessary, restoration of the traditional functioning of the Department.

Thanks to Laura Rozen's War and Piece, without which I wouldn't have seen this article.

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April 6, 2007

The Justice Department.

Your tax dollars at work, protecting you.

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March 29, 2007

I have found my new source of all things news.

Between gems of reportage such as this and this, why go anywhere else? Especially with the most excellent photo editing.

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March 23, 2007

The White House, email and Obstruction of Justice?

CREW has a post up which starts off speculating on possible Presidential involvement in the decisionmaking to fire the US Attorneys of recent attention and fuss. It moves on, however, into something I personally find more interesting - the possibility that the White House has been using non-governmental email systems in order to avoid the specific requirements of the Presidential Records Act. In this particular case, they note the possible use of the gwb43.com domain (owned by the GOP) by Karl Rove's office to coordinate the plan to replace the USAttys.

As the PRA does not specify penalties for its violation, CREW notes, this may have caused the WH to become 'cavalier' about flouting its requirements. However (and here's where it gets interesting) if the US Attorneys who were being replaced were in the midst of pursuing cases involving government officials, then (CREW says) a case could be made that the explicit use of non-archived email systems despite a mandate for the President's staff to do so might be taken as obstruction of justice. If at any point it became necessary to investigate the motivation behind their removal, it seems to me, the deliberate use of non-archived email systems to discuss the process, in violation of requirements otherwise, seems like a bit of a problem.

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March 22, 2007

Deep wisdom lulz

MySpace, the real definition.

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March 4, 2007

Losing Neurons

What bothers me most about this test is that I've taken it three times, separated by at least 24 hours between tests, and each time I've missed one. The worst part is that it's always been a different one.

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February 23, 2007

The fact that this is in 'GQ'...

...just shows the depths to which we've sunk. It should be in the New York Times, and it should be in Congress, damn it.

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February 20, 2007

George Takei.

SO the man.

via boingboing

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February 17, 2007


Heh. While taking The Superhero Quiz, I kept thinking to myself "Iron Man, i think, based on these..." Well, I wasn't that far off.

Spidey's cooler, though, so I'm stoked.

Your results:
You are Spider-Man

Iron Man
Green Lantern
The Flash
Wonder Woman
You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.
Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz

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February 16, 2007

I am shocked, shocked!

"...to find out there is gambling going on here!"

Seriously, where were all these folks who seem surprised by this now? There were stories even then about political appointees from the Young Repubs with L.L. Bean backpacks getting off buses in Baghdad with no experience whatsoever save working on GOP campaigns and being handed responsibility for huge chunks of money and (more importantly) U.S. strategic interests and security.

I mean, come *on*.

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February 12, 2007

Not wrong at all.

So, so right. My cousin made this for Baconfest last year. It was delicious (the white chocolate was the best, dark second, milk third in my opinion). We tried to get her to commercialize it, but she kept waving us off. Looks like we didn't try hard enough.

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February 9, 2007

I am weak.

I am a wretch. I am susceptible to memes. I am...I am...



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February 6, 2007

I can explain what?

You scored as Scientific Atheist. These guys rule. I'm not one of them myself, although I play one online. They know the rules of debate, the Laws of Thermodynamics, and can explain evolution in fifty words or less. More concerned with how things ARE than how they should be, these are the people who will bring us into the future.

Scientific Atheist


Apathetic Atheist


Spiritual Atheist






Angry Atheist


Militant Atheist


What kind of atheist are you?
created with QuizFarm.com

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February 1, 2007

I'd either smash Foamy with an ashtray, or buy him a beer.

I dunno which. The laughs are fun though.

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January 31, 2007

This is why they put it on an unmanned platform.

Still, ow. I feel for Sea Launch. I hope this doesn't stopblock their program.

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January 25, 2007

Go Maine.

You tell 'em!

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January 24, 2007

New Translation Available

...on the impeccable MC White.


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The Government Does Not Currently Have Any Plans to Make Monkeys Available

I love the British. Especially their civil service, for its extreme sense of humor as outwardly expressed by a complete lack thereof.

Posted by jbz at 9:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 5, 2007

Hooray! The Return of the Secret Life!

...The Secret Life Of Machines, that is...one of my all-time favorite British television documentary series. A quirktastic edutainment spin. Thanks to BoingBoing for pointing this one out! I tried to find that series on DVD for ages.

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January 1, 2007

Who understands those 'rap guys' anyway.

Ever wonder what the hell they mean? No matter how good your street cred, you gotta give props to MC White for trying to make hiphop comprehensible (linguistically) to the poker-inserted set.

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December 24, 2006

CRAP and Windows


My avenue for 'premium content' continues to be 'Purchase hard media (CD, DVD). Stripping DRM if required (DVD) Rip to unprotected digital format. Store.'

My OS of choice continues to be Mac OS X because, despite various bleatings about iTunes (some, in my opinion, deserved and many not) Mac OS X and media players available for it have no problem with me utilizing my preferred avenue, above, on Apple-branded hardware end-to-end. This might change in the future, certainly. But given that I still can't get many default Linux distros to play a bloody video file (or, in some cases, audio) out of the box because people can't get their act together either legally, organizationally, philosophically or just plain technically - and given that using Linux as a primary desktop still feels like swallowing glass compared to using OS X - well, at home, I have a Mac.

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December 23, 2006

Grey Lady Rising

...to the challenge, at last. Here is what the New York Times is supposed to do. Here is what a 'free press' looks like when it is trying to do its job; when it is attempting to tell us something is wrong by the very act of complying with rules which are, themselves, broken. Note the following sentence: "Agency officials told us that they had concluded on their own that the original draft included no classified material, but that they had to bow to the White House." That is an extremely interesting claim, even from a strictly legal point of view.

It's been a good while since the Grey Lady has shown the gleam of combat in her eye. It's good to see it again. Here's hoping she can bring some sunshine.

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December 19, 2006

I'm an internet junkie. So how come I missed this?

Because it frakking rules.

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December 15, 2006

Japanglish Is Fun!

...and makes for the BEST PRODUCT PAGE EVAR. I'm not kidding. This link is SFW.

Despite having text like the following: Please remove plastic cover package from the item and insert it into your desire hole.

hat tip Wired

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November 20, 2006

Clarkson and May, on Hammond

Jeremy Clarkson and James May discuss their colleague Richard's accident in the Vampire Jet Car whilst filming for Top Gear, as well as the public reaction to it in Britain. These gentlemen are writers, damn it, which is why that show is so bloody good.

(hat tip jyeo for the pointer)

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November 9, 2006

Senator Lincoln Chafee, R-RI.

While I'm happy the Dems took the Senate, I'm somewhat sorry Senator Chafee is one of the seats they nailed in doing so. Why? The quote from him in this story, especially considering he just lost an election at the hands of those same American People. This man may be one of those Republicans I miss.

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October 24, 2006

Why don't I live in England? WHY?

Tanks! TANKS!!!!! AIGH!!!!!!!

C'mon, Top Gear, get on this one!

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October 23, 2006

Warren Ellis has awesome friends of friends

Pictures of the Space Shuttle launching - taken from the ISS.


Update: Aw. Those w/sharper eyes than me were right. They're not from ISS. They're from a high-altitude plane. Still awesome images, but somehow the cool factor is diminished.

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Hooray Hamster!

The Hamster is up and about! Many sighs of relief for him and his family are heard throughout the pistonhead world. Now let's see the footage of the runs before, at least, eh BBC? C'mon! C'mon! It's got a bloody jet engine!

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October 12, 2006

Some things on the net actually *remain* funny.

MY NEIGHBOURS ARE HOORS! ...is definitely one of them.


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October 5, 2006

Oh, *that's* where the Republicans went.

A while back, I lamented the disappearance of 'real' Republicans - the type who you could argue with over policy. I'm not saying they've reappeared, but it looks like even those on the other side of the fence seem to be missing them.

Hopeful. Fences can be used to shake hands across. There's this old saw about good neighbors, too...

Those aren't the people I'm talking about. But they seem to agree with me that the people in DC at the moment aren't the ones who should be there.

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October 1, 2006

What the hell?

"October Surprise"? Nice.
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September 14, 2006

Scientology Fun!

This deserves a google pagerank boost. I've had run-ins with the Scientologists before. Those that aren't pathetic are simply dangerous. Well, I take that back - they're all pathetic. Some are dangerous. Scientology is a classic example of the human need to absolve the self of all responsibility in favor of external authority and explanation, no matter how ridiculous. It is an example of the danger of carefully crafted mental distortion applied to large numbers of the venal, the willing and the merely weak.

Don't listen to me talk about it, though. Google 'em. And watch the video.

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September 12, 2006

Question everything

It's a terrible sign when things like this make you sit back and wonder. I have to say I find just as many problems with this narrative as with the 'official' one - but that alone makes me sad. It drives home the fact that I don't believe what I've been told, and haven't since the event. This may make me 'fringe' and it may make me 'partisan' and it may make me whatever people want to label me. The problem is that in order to accept the tale as it has been told, I have to discard logic in too many places.

I still don't believe in tight, overarching conspiracies of evil. I have a much easier time accepting venality in opportunism and mistaken good intentions. But the thing that really roils my gut is not what I think did happen but the sheer fury of the certainty that I don't know what did. Given the import of the events, and given what they have been used to justify, that's unacceptable.

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September 5, 2006

A Mighty Wind

One of my parents' current obsessive causes seems to have made Wired.Com via an AP story (they live in one of the towns mentioned). I follow their fight with half an ear and one eye - after all, their home is partially my home too. One bit of information I find amusing is that in nearly every story about these proposed wind turbine projects, you can determine the degree of support for the wind project by the amount of information suppressed.

The AP article is to the 'support' side of the line, which is probably to be expected if it is being run in Wired magazine - after all, renewable power = good, right? Well, yes, renewable power is good. The main problem is how you get it.

In particular, the piece of information that is being left out of that story is the size of the damn things. They're roughly twenty stories tall. The plan calls, therefore, for over two dozen twenty-story tall wind towers to be erected. Where they are to be placed, mind you, is on top of a Green Mountain ridge, which has no structure on it taller than a fire watch tower - and no structure which currently breaks the ridgeline. This ridge is overlooking Interstate 91, which means that it is set in the middle of the more populous corridor' along that region of Vermont as you approach the Northeast Kingdom - which does make sense from a power-delivery point of view.

However, consider that. I don't think there's a single building in Vermont that's twenty stories tall. Now imagine you live in a peaceful rural community, in what is still a very, very pretty ridge-bordered valley in Vermont. So pretty, in fact, that numerous high-priced bed & breakfasts and country inns are placed strategically around the area, some along the top of that very ridgeline (although offset several miles south) for the views. You're a Vermonter, a solid, tough, independent type with a distrust of 'flatlanders' - the local sobriquet for those from south of the southern Vermont border and in fact anywhere else - and the town you live in is so poor, it doesn't even have a general store. No industry whatsoever.

Now imagine someone tells you that a company based in one of the richest suburbs of Boston wants to put up two dozen twenty-story tall industrial objects on the highest, most picturesque and visible ridgeline in the country. These turbines will require anticollision lights for aircraft, of course. They will need concrete and steel footings and basemounts the size of small skyscrapers, all built of reinforced concrete and steel on the top of your so-far-relatively unsullied forested-and-field ridge.

Now realize that these turbines will produce maybe enough power for a couple of counties. 15,000 homes? Bupkes. This is not a California desert valley, with guaranteed winds due to daily solar convection, either - this is merely the highest point of a ridge system, with a general airflow pattern - and not a very strong one.

Does the deal look quite so good?

Well, let's have another look: "...supporters in Sheffield, which voted 120-93 in December in favor of the project, still hold out hope." Supporters? What supporters? Ah, well, remember another incredibly important thing about these towns: they are, as towns, incredibly poor. They have little tax base save for their inhabitants. Suddenly, an out-of-state company wants to buy up some land that is likely nearly unsaleable because it is unfarmable and difficult to get to and has no services - and they're probably willing to pay cash on the barrelhead in quantities that, in this town, are simply enormous. In Newton, Massachusetts, they probably wouldn't buy a bathroom redecoration, but whatever.

Now, it is certainly in the interests of the landowners to accept this offer. This is their privilege, and more power to them - I would expect them to support this project. There are of course industries that would benefit - contractors to do forestry work, roadbuild, clear, put up maintenance structures, work on the electrical delivery grid, etc. Sure.

Now, of course, you have the town clerks, who are looking at huge increases (in relative terms) in their towns' tax takes for the first couple of years, at least - in other words, the years they can forsee being in office and 'making a legacy.' Sounds like a godsend.

But what about that farmer in the article who has to wake up every day and look out across that ridge? What about the people who live within twenty miles of that ridgeline who enjoy their relatively unsullied night sky who will have to look at the crazyquilt of anticollision lights and strobes? What about the ornithologists, professional and amateur, who spend months at a time in that part of Vermont watching those particular ridgelines because of those same airmass movements carrying birds, who will now be looking into the face of what are essentially enormous twenty-story tall Cuisinarts?

They're not the ones with the budgets. But their concerns matter too.

For a rendering of the ridge with and without the turbines, see this web page.

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August 31, 2006

We Are Not Descended From Fearful Men

Keith Olbermann calls out Donald Rumsfeld and cronies on national television.

Watch it. Now.

He speaks well, and quotes Edward R. Murrow to great effect.

Thank you, Mr. Olbermann, for saying something with great clarity and conviction that I am unable to get past my anger to frame properly - and using your position and pulpit to broadcast.

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August 23, 2006

I beg to differ!

Boing Boing links to a list of typos published by Monochrom, which is cool. However, they include the 'typo' "New Zork" - at which I must protest! As any good IF aficionado knows, New Zork is base for that most excellent publication, the New Zork Times!

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August 22, 2006

James Brown, Bitch!

Red Meat frigging rules. Even home-made Red Meat.

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August 17, 2006

It Is Better to Light A Single Candle Than Curse The Darkness

Judge Anna Diggs Taylor strikes a flame.

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Ah, homesickness...

You have to respect an article that uses words like 'fetor.'

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August 11, 2006

It's All About The Butt

An excellent and funny tip on the creation of cartoons as an art form, from one of the modern masters:
"Even Walt Disney, who is mostly anti-cartoon loves a good old butt violation. All real cartoonists think the butt is the funniest part of the anatomy and tend to do an inordinate amount of butt poking and crack exposure in their cartoons. If you are ashamed of buttcracks, you are probably ashamed to be drawing cartoons and shame on you for doing it."

-John Kricfalusi (creator of Ren & Stimpy)

John K.'s blog is a fascinating and ever-educational look at the craft of cartooning. He offers personal anecdotes, history lessons, step-by-step tutorials, and advice honed by years of experience in the trade - all with tons and tons of drawings to back up his words. The man knows more about cartooning than I could dream of knowing about anything. His tale of how, as a kid, he could tell each of the animators who drew Fred Flintstone apart from looking at the character and how their interpretations differed from the designer's drawings is awesome.

Throw in lots of 'lost material' presented there, stuff his friends do, and it makes a fun ol' place to spend part of my blogrounds.

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August 2, 2006

Risque and funny.

It's all about the payoff.

If you're uptight, don't watch it.

Thanks to gorozco!

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More money than sense, but balls.


Stefan Eriksson, eat a dick.

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August 1, 2006

Five flavors of awesome sauce

I don't know which is cooler/funnier; that they actually decided to call the new T passes Charliecards, or that everyone I've talked to knew what the reference was and why they did it as soon as it's been brought up - even if they weren't from Boston.

Yeh, I know I'm all late with this, but I just took the T and hit my first set of the 'new gates' and went 'huh?'...which led to finding all this stuff out. I'd been using tokens, not passes, so I wasn't in the loop.

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June 30, 2006

Yes, Mr. President, How Long?

How Long Must We Sing This Song? Yeh, it's linkwhoring for thepartyparty.com and youtube, but it's awesome.

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95% for me

Would you pass a notional U.S. Citizenship test? I missed the one about the form, never having needed it, and took a long time scrunching my head over amendment numbers, but puzzled it out. I'm unreasonably proud of myself, because it should be a no-brainer, if I'm as proud of being a U.S. Citizen as I claim I am.

Thanks to The Agonist for pointing out the quiz!

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June 13, 2006

How to torment an Apple fanboy

So Tom's Hardware claims you can build a budget ($720) PC with a 4 GHz dual-core CPU. They're not lying, but what this really is is a 2 GHz Pentium-D pushed to 4 GHz with the help of commercially-available watercooling kits.

Computers have changed. Phrases like "It is important to keep the reservoir filled to the fill line. For best results, use distilled water (or another non-conductive cooling liquid)" emphasize this fact to me. Apparently, it's no longer EXTREME to have water lines drooping off the back of your 'puter.

I note that this is similar, if not identical, to the chip in my new iMac. I fantasize briefly about being able to write the following line in a HOWTO blog entry (with pictures) describing how to watercool an iMac: "Using this Dremel, I managed to route the water lines to the heatpipes inside the iMac...

...and the sounds of Apple fanboys everywhere screaming and fainting pervaded the blogosphere. DIY FTW!"


Of course, I'm one of those fanboys. I cringe at the thought of taking sharpness to the boo'ful white plazztic of my iMac. Yes. Yes. Oh, you smell good. What is that?

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June 11, 2006

Causality's a bitch.

Woo metafilter and youtube: Spin DJ is a God.

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June 3, 2006

Deliver us from Bill O'Reilly

Please. Someone. As Keith Olbermann is trying to do.

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Heh heh heh NSA heh heh...

Editorial cartoons in flash, woo.

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May 25, 2006


Bastard bastard bastard bastard.

I beat it. Then I tipped him $5.

Bob beat it before me though, so he got to taunt me.

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May 23, 2006

Play as work

Hm. I used to play TRACON all the time on my Mac II. I miss it. If there was a Mac OS X client for this, I think I'd be in real trouble...

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April 21, 2006

Hold the phone! Job performance is a firing criterion?

And trash talk when writing an adult-themed sitcom isn't sexual harassment? The courts ruled this? Oh, it's L.A. Whew. I thought sanity was breaking out all over.

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April 20, 2006

Risk or Protection?

The Beeb is running an article on the state of wildlife in the contaminated zone around Chernobyl. Apparently, with the exception of species that do not peregrinate and remain within local hotspots, most local fauna are flourishing, in the sense of reproducing and increasing their population above what was possible when humans shared the land. While there are mutations in DNA, it seems that cancer-like symptoms are rarely found - one scientist notes that most creatures (like mice, say) that are studied for such have lifespans shorter than the expected time for such syndromes to appear in the wild, but due to predators and mishap rather than illness.

Anyway, a provocative idea...one point that is made, in an off-the-cuff manner, is that perhaps one way to preserve areas for wildlife would be to store radioactive waste in them. As one 'radioecologist' notes re: the Chernobyl experience, most species there don't seem to care much at all. While many animals are too radioactive to be domesticated for human productive use, this doesn't appear to be affecting their lifespans or life experience much. Furthermore, deep-vaulted waste storage would (hopefully) not actually contaminate the area, but would certainly make it undesirable and impractical for actual development.

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Think you're a Lego architect?

Think again. Be sure to check out Evolution: 2005.

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April 13, 2006


Sometimes I feel like a FABOB, baby.

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Lightsabers. Right fucking now.

Given this , there had better be a Jedi franchise game out for the Revolution when it ships, because if I can't swing that little controller dealie and get that awesome zzzzmmMMMMmmmmm noise, I ain't buying one.

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March 25, 2006

Tastily tasting tasty things

Despite a long hiatus due mostly to technical whoopsies coupled with inertia, I'm pleased to announce that Tastings is back online, albeit with a very slightly different URL. Come on by and see what happens when yuppies with questing palates get bloggin'.

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March 12, 2006

What is it with this set of Conservatives?

Claude A. Allen. Conservative. Ex-press secretary for Jesse Helms. Home schooling and abstinence education advocate. Bush Domestic Policy Advisor. And, apparently, alleged serial petty thief.

It'd be funny if it weren't so damn sad.

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March 7, 2006

I Love Getting Evidence I'm Not Crazy.

I've been saying for years that the U.S. has or had a high-tech spyplane system to replace the SR-71 that it wasn't talking about, if for no other reason than the U.S. Air Force turning down funding to keep them flying. I mean, the day the USAF turns down money to keep what is (as far as the world knows) the coolest high-speed airplane on the planet running, organization theory tells you they have something cooler up their sleeve.

Well, Aviation Leak...er, Aviation Week thinks so too.

Hoax? Possibly. Do I think so? No. Could I be wrong? Absolutely.

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March 3, 2006

Whatever you do, don't pay your bill.

Because if you decide to one day pay off a credit card, well, that might bring down the DHS on your ass. Welcome to our safer society. Fuck you, Mr. President.

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February 28, 2006

Bush and Company implementing policy from Syria?

So Dubai Ports World's parent company PCZC apparently fully complies with the Arab boycott of Israel, which is coordinated from an office in Damascus. Note that this story is being reported by the Jerusalem Post, so let's get corroboration, but still. That...won't look good for the Bush crew, if they're trying to hand port ops in the US over to a company who coordinates port operations with a Syrian office for the purpose of boycotting Israel.

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February 24, 2006

Touchscreens redux

Think you voted?

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February 22, 2006

I Will Say Only This About The 'Ports Issue'

Time magazine is in no way capable of using the term dissed in a story regarding U.S. national politics without looking like complete dorks.

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Dogs and Cats

When Fox News, on their website, says they have a strong problem with the actions of police and their supporting bureaucracy/politicians involving a case where a man with no prior criminal record and no serious crime ends up on death row...and suggests liberals and conservatives alike should have a problem with this one...I'll read it carefully. And yeah, it looks...really, really bad. I would want several other sources of information both because of habitual distrust of Fox (not because I suspect them of specific problems here, especially given their take) and because for issues such as this, especially involving matters as important as this, the more available sources to correlate the better. But this one...looks bad.

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February 19, 2006

Of course, it's not like MA is much different.

Scumbag politics, suppression of opposition by government officials, you know the drill.

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February 18, 2006

Metafilter can shake you.

Which can be the right thing.

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February 1, 2006

Lawyers, Guns and Money

This is a talk given by Benjamin Ginsburg at Duke. Mr. Ginsburg was the chief counsel for both Bush 43 campaigns (thanks MeFi for the link - it's a RealPlayer stream). In it, MeFi headlines the fact that he states "Just like, really, with the Voting Rights Act, Republicans have some fundamental philosophical difficulties with the whole notion of Equal Protection." Wanting to know the context, I had to go watch. More after the jump.

I'm not a lawyer, but he's talking about Equal Protection as it applies to the vote and ballots, a specific legal concept and tactic. He's discussing the 2000 recount cases brought in Florida (at around 38:40 into the video). Here's a rough transcript for some context, all errors mine:

We went to the Florida Supreme Court twice..there was litigation in scores of federal and state courts around the state...a quick note on perhaps the most interesting issue that came up there as we dealt with it and that was equal protection. Equal Protection is from really the Macintyre/McClosky race back in 1984; sort of the wildcard in litigating recount cases. In other words, are all similar ballots counted the same way? Because each county counts its own ballots, they may do it slightly different... what's a 'hanging chad' and counted in Palm Beach may be a 'pregnant chad' and not counted in Dade, and is that fair under the law, does it meet Equal Protection if all ballots aren't counted in the same way. Now, just like really with the Voting rights act, Republicans have some fundamental philosophical difficulties with the whole notion of Equal Protection. And in this case we decided nonetheless to begin filing the complaints based on Equal Protection. I was defeated in the Florida district court down in Miami early on, it went up to the 11th circuit, it sort of hung around there, it reemerged as an issue in the Florida Supreme Court cases, uh, which is what ultimately went up to the U.S. Supreme Court and at the end of the day there was a 7-2 majority of the US Supreme Court to find Equal Protection violations in the Bush vs. Gore case. The justices split on the remedy 5-4 but there was a 7-2 majority for the notion that you needed to do something about the Equal Protection violations in Florida. Of course, Bush vs. Gore is probably the most notorious of all the election violation cases that went up to the Supreme Court.
In other words, he appears to be saying that on the whole, Republicans don't generally agree with the philosophy behind the legislation and/or judicial precedent that created the Equal Protection concept, but they decided to use it anyway to achieve their goal, and it worked out for them. This sounds fairly normally lawyerly to me. As for the other part of the statement, that they don't agree with the Voting Rights Act either, that is made slightly clearer later on when he answers a question.

At around 54:00 in the video stream, Mr. Ginsburg notes that the U.S. House of Representatives has, since 1974, had an extremely high re-election rate - i.e. incumbents tend to win. He attributes this to a string of decisions from the Supreme Court, starting with the Voting Rights Act, involving redistricting. He further says that a Constitutional 'Originalist' must prefer the House to 'blow with the prevailing political winds' of the country rather than remaining locked through incumbent victories, and notes that the Delay case (which begins hearing arguments March 1, 2006) will likely have a profound impact on redistricting in the United States since it involves nearly all aspects of political redistricting in the U.S. He makes a remark that a federal judge many years ago told him that the Supreme Court was not, in fact, planning in any way to affect the political nature of the House and that he should stop being paranoid, because there 'wasn't anything behind those robes' (referring to the Justices)...and then notes that that judge was John Roberts, so we'll see.

Some other revealing (to me) bits. Earlier in the Q&A period, he characterizes the dispute over recounts between the GOP and the Democrats as one where the Democrats are afraid the GOP will attempt to suppress minority (Democratic) votes through intimidation, and the GOP is afraid that the Democrats will attempt to 'register multiple votes through fraud in those precincts.' Er, what? He then, in that same answer, does admit that remaining tough on perceived GOP intimidation is an effective Democratic 'get out the vote' tactic, while offering no opinion on the point of view that intimidation is a much, much easier to achieve and harder to prove (and hence prevent) form of tampering than actual voter fraud.

Also, remaining a true GOP operative, he closes the talk by answering a question as to what the plans would have been had the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Gore campaign in 2000 - "We would have gone back to the county level and fought tooth and nail," and then immediately painted a picture of "imagine if 9/11 had happened and we hadn't had a clear decision on who was President."

Um, and whose fault would that have been then, had the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Gore?


I will give him this: he's opposed to electronic voting systems. He thinks they're bad for the country. He says as a 'member of the society of hourly billing' he loves 'em, but as an American, he thinks there is just too much anecdotal evidence, even, that they are vulnerable, and too many ways for plausible challenges to their veracity to be raised in comparison to paper ballots. Which makes sense, given that his specialty is recounts.

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January 31, 2006

Welcome to the Twilight Zone.

But don't mind me. I live in the Northeast, which isn't Real America.

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January 2, 2006

The Stealth Bomber's Got A Daddy

Holy living fuck. The Palm Springs Air Museum has this unbelievable snippet in its schedule of events for 2006:
Feb. 25 FLYING WING - The Flying Wing, designed by Jack Northrup sic during the early 1940's is a most significant historical aircraft. This radical design was the precursor to the Stealth Bomber. The object of a political controversy, Stuart Symington, Sec'y of Defense under President Truman, ordered the original 13 Flying Wing aircraft and plans destroyed. Original Northrop employees restored this Flying Wing over an eight-year period. FLIGHT DEMO
FLIGHT DEMO. This is not a drill. SOMEBODY please, please, please please get to this and take pictures. Lots of pictures. Video would be better. Good God, I had no idea any of these survived.

I really want to know if this is the B-35 or the (X/Y/YR)B-49 (reciprocating engines on the first, Allison turbojets on the latter three).

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December 31, 2005


...the call of the linking sheep. I join the herd. But you should watch this. It's brilliant. (Shockwave Flash required, no video). o/~...this is the Ultimate Showdown...of Ultimate Destiny...good guys bad guys and explo-o-sions...as far as the eye can see...o/~

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Car Dancing Par Excellence

Via MeFi, an awesome sequence of autodancing from carmaker Isuzu's ad campaign in the mid-1980s. Pity about the model of car chosen to receive this treatment, but ah well. Bear in mind, this was shot without special effects (according to the link, AFAICT) other than props such as ramps and the like.

Seriously, da-a-a-mn.

I recall, during the same period, there was an ad shot for a Renault (the Fuego?) on upper Park Avenue, Manhattan. I remember arriving in that area to visit a friend, and realizing that every car in every parking place for as far as I could see was a red Renault Fuego. There were security guards on each corner with radios, and the cars were all under plastic covers, but that didn't really detract from the sheer oddity of the view. The ad, IIRC, was essentially a crossfade shot where the 'normal' Park Avenue traffic faded into a stream of identical red Fuegos.

But they were just driving along sedately.

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December 30, 2005


I had waaay too much fun reading the ginormous list of myths suggested to Mythbusters.

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December 24, 2005

Pay No Attention To That Consolation Prize

So Senator Ted Stevens (AK) may have in fact (for now) lost out in his quest to sell off the oil underneath the ANWR. He may have also lost on his $450 million bridge boondoggle - oh, wait, what? Balloon Juice says nope, he didn't.

Pay careful attention to that $450 million of 'your' money.

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December 22, 2005


I can't stand it. I have to link it again. Everyone go read this now. I'll wait.

Now tell me that isn't a truly fucking worthy rant. My hat is off.

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Where's Q when he's needed?

Oh, dear, that's right. Desmond Llewelyn is dead, God Rest His Gadgetized Soul. Still, there's a biz opportunity for an aspiring Q...given that the recent announcement that Britain will be tracking all cars everywhere indicates that they will rely on automatic license-plate reading cameras, the good ol' spinning plate would seen to be poised for a comeback. But JBZ007 is taken, boys.

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December 21, 2005

Returning to Normality?

David Ignatius, in the Washington Post, claims that the recent pushback against the Bush Administration's post-9/11 national security structure is a sign that the U.S. is returning to normal. As the sense of immediate crisis passes, and airplanes stop flying into skyscrapers, the nation looks to the rule of law, and tries to regain the 'center line' promulgated by the Founders (my paraphrasing of him).

My problem with this is that it seems to glance approvingly on this process. It tells us that this push back towards the center is adequate compensation for the wild and dizzy swing to the right after 9/11. I disagree vehemently. To take that position is to simply accept that the rule of law will drop into abeyance when drastic events occur - and I believe strongly that that is an improper position.

We should strive to ensure that the system does not swing out of line in response to catastrophic events. Allowing it to do so simply does, in fact, offer 'encouragement to our enemies,' Mr. President. All it takes is for one of them to decide that this constriction of our liberties, and hence damage to our way of life, is their objective, and you have created the ideal conditions for them.

I fail to understand how the Executive branch can think that this form of unilateral invasion of American citizens' privacy, arguably a flat violation of the Fourth Amendment to our Constitution, 'improves' our situation. I would argue that the damage done to our political system by that swing far outweighs the damage done in New York City - and I am a New Yorker.

Why? Think of the many times we have willingly spent lives and treasure to preserve our way of life - specifically, our political and civil philosophical ideals. Think of the resources marshalled to fight the threat du jour to those ideals (as well as, yes, to our prosperity - which may be linked). We seem to have decided, in each of those cases, that we were willing to risk, hazard, and ultimately spend the lives of Americans to preserve them.

Yet President Bush and his advisors decided, without consulting us, that even though we'd already paid the price to preserve those liberties and that Constitution, we wouldn't mind if they trampled them a bit for us.

Impeach them now.

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It continues to get interesting.

In a bipartisan way, no less.

Despite the fact that Google News, when you select the "U.S." header, current displays no sign of this story anywhere, despite having multiple-story categories for:

  • Puppy Smuggling (not kidding)
  • Explosives missing in Albuquerque
  • Polling data showing that more Americans prefer 'Merry Christmas' (I swear I'm not making this up)
  • A 'Star Studded' memorial for Tookie Williams
  • An emergency landing at Boston's Logan Airport
  • Schwarzenegger asks that his name be removed from a stadium in his hometown
  • ...and on, and on.

December 20, 2005

Discussion over the wiretap issue

...is going on over at Intel Dump. It has a remarkably high signal:noise ratio for an internet 'Comments' discussion. I recommend it highly. One poster has a summation of his own position I strongly agree with:
But of course whether the president thinks that is irrelevant, just as the discussion on how important this program is to the GWOT is irrelevant. The bottom line is that it was not the president's call, it was Congress's call, and this president decided to ignore the law and his duties under the Constitution because he was more afraid of Osama than he was of remaining loyal to the Constitution. And that is being generous.
I would be less generous, and mutter darkly about ulterior motives involving the power of the Executive and the President's inability to admit mistakes, but that's me. Don't read me, go read the discussion.

Posted by jbz at 9:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hello? Press? Hello?

You've just been presented with a blatant and barefaced lie by the President of the United States in a public speech - going on the record in 2004 stating that
"...a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so."
This would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to square with recent revelations about the Administration approving warrantless wiretaps- unless the targets weren't terrorists and the Administration knew that when writing the speech.

Now, personally, I favor an explanation of sheer bald-faced lying or complete stupidity in letting this quote pass over actual conspiracy. But I can't come up with any way that this can be spun to let them slide, and if the press doesn't at least force them to try, I will be...well, even more disappointed in it than I have been.

Note: the original of the speech, before I am accused of presenting a liberal link with an axe to grind, can be found here. This is the paragraph in question (paragraph 29) in its entirety:

Secondly, there are such things as roving wiretaps. Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution.
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There's hope.

I keep waiting for a backlash. In the meantime, cheer what we can get and hope sanity continues to prevail.

Posted by jbz at 11:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 18, 2005

Bush, Wiretaps, and FISA

A bit of legal analysis (from an actual lawyer) about the Bush administration wiretaps and FISA, in relation to recent conservative blogposts opining that "FISA allowed it." To give away the ending: Nope. The posts in question specifically omitted text from the FISA which limited its applicability to a specific set of targets. Surpise, surprise...when the actual text is quoted in full, it really doesn't look good at all for the Bush crew.

What a shock.

Think about it carefully: if it was legal under existing statute, why would those carrying it out need to be 'covered' by a (constantly revisited) Executive Order?

Posted by jbz at 3:15 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 16, 2005

The Same, Except When It's Not

President Bush seems angered by the assertion that his administration misused intelligence to make the case for war in Iraq, various mouthpieces for the man telling us that "Congress saw the same intelligence."

Er, except the Congressional Research Service doesn't think so.

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December 15, 2005



Posted by jbz at 6:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Nose brown? Check.

This is the sound of a Bush Administration 'talking points' disseminator being interviewed. This one, however, has cleverly managed to retain a job as the Political Editor at the Washington Post while simultaneously describing a paid GOP staffer as a 'grassroots conservative blogger' when citing him in order to support an attack on one of his own employee's columns (somewhat misleadingly confused with a 'blog') - because that column happens to come across critical of the White House.


Well, if they're willing to spend all that money buying press over there, and spend dollars buying stories on stuff like No Child Left Behind, why shouldn't they have the WP political editor bent over a table prison-style?

Posted by jbz at 12:28 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 13, 2005

Always Knew Robert Bork Was Odd.

I mean, come on. Lemon in a martini??


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December 12, 2005

Do not go gently

Big ups to the Massachusetts Information Technology Division and its legal counsel, one Linda Hamel. They refuse to go gently into that good night, and rage - rage! against the dying of the light.

Posted by jbz at 1:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 6, 2005

Two signs of t3h apocalypso.


Now breathe.


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December 1, 2005

Ms. Parks, Your Bus Is Safe

Bejamin Greenberg posts an article that everyone should read about what happened to The Bus after Rosa Parks caused such a furor on it. I'll spoil the story: It was carefully hidden and saved for us, despite being shot at and vandalized by those who would rather Jim Crow had never fallen. It's in the Henry Ford Museum, and it's been restored. The article was written by the grocery store owner who persevered in holding the bus in trust for America, and who felt the time was finally right - so that fifty years after Rosa kept her seat, The Bus is Back.

Posted by jbz at 1:46 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 28, 2005


Seriously, they don't. Although I don't know why. That quote is awesome. I want T-shirts with that quote, and a Dalek with its little plunger reaching for some naughty bits, with the circle-slash. NOW.

(Does playing with the Doctor count?)

Posted by jbz at 11:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 18, 2005

Give that man a cigar.

The Vatican steps up its clarification of science as distinct from faith, in a manner which I must say I heartily approve. Treating Intelligent Design as a subject in culture or religious study curricula (which the Big V seems to recommend via this spokesman) would allow its worthiness to be taught to be debated based on the effect the idea has on Americans - not based on the empirical correctness (or more precisely, lack thereof in my opinion) of the idea. It removes the conflict between ID and science by allowing those teaching science and those teaching ID outside of science curricula (if they're forced to do so) to explicitly delimit its bounds - and places it on par with all other 'faith based' movements or belief systems in the competition for classroom time.

Posted by jbz at 5:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 8, 2005


Okay, well, this will run. Now what about TF 2fort5? GET CRACKING PEOPLE.

Update: It appears that link is no longer valid...but it pointed to a demo of the first few rooms of Quake, implemented inside Shockwave. I was running it smoothly inside a browser window, on a PowerMac G4/500.

Posted by jbz at 1:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 7, 2005

Defenders of Evolution...

...the Vatican.

Posted by jbz at 12:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 4, 2005

Short fiction

One of the entertaining things about going through unpleasant periods of corporate shakeup is watching people not involved draw conclusions. It can make up for a bad day.
Posted by jbz at 2:06 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 3, 2005


Holy cow, there are still QuakeWorld TF servers running. In fact, there is at this very moment a 2fort5 server running with 5 players on it!

I wonder if QWTF will run inside VMware...damn, I miss the FOAM server.

Shadowfax lives!

Posted by jbz at 11:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 25, 2005

Godspeed, Mrs. Parks.

Rest peacefully, Mrs. Parks. You may not have been the first, but you may have been our most powerful. May you not be the last one who refuses to bow.

Posted by jbz at 12:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 11, 2005


The truth. This is why Turd Blossom - er, excuse me, Karl Rove - has a job. His principal is entirely fucking disconnected from the reality of life in this country. Unfortunately, KR's job isn't to fix that, but to make it someone else's fault.
Posted by jbz at 12:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 30, 2005

Mississippi coffee drinkers

Jimmie L. Morgan, a '70 year old coffee drinker' from Amory, MS says that the civil rights workers killed in MS described in the Killen trial were "northeastern carpetbaggers, infiltrated by communists, down here to stir up trouble."

Mr. Morgan: I can't speak for the first two adjectives, nor the second part of that statement, really. But I can tell you that as long as you and your coffee-drinkin' friends are a public face of Mississippi, you're damn skippy somebody should go down there and 'stir up trouble.' The status quo is too horrific to let slide.

Welcome to the twenty-first century, America.

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August 25, 2005

Utah Rave: An NPOV infodump

Wikinews has information on the Utah Rave bust, including a nice links collection.

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August 11, 2005

I remember laughing at stuff like this...

...back in 1983. Now, well, privacy implications notwithstanding, I have to admit ...it's still funny as hell.

(via MeFi)

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July 27, 2005

NYC Subway Searches: The pocket guide

Flexyourrights.org has a nice site which includes a handy PDF guide to refusing to submit to random police searches in the NYC subway. Short form: Be cool, don't resist, don't run, and record everything for later legal challenges. Their site includes links to a survey from the NYCLU, where you can record your encounter. Qui custodiet ipso custodes? Thanks to BoingBoing for the link.

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July 15, 2005

Why we have separation of powers in government

The answer? People like Judge Royce C. Lamberth, apparently.

I know nothing about Judge Lamberth save this memorandum opinion from the DC District Court. It concerns litigation ongoing for nine years between a plaintiff class consisting of American Indians who are beneficiaries of a land trust set up by the U.S. Government years ago, and the defendants consisting of the U.S. Department of the Interior and the currently serving Secretary thereof. In essence, the plaintiffs claim that the DOI has performed miserably at managing the trust and at keeping the beneficiaries informed about their trust assets, and based on my reading of this stellar (and entertaining-other-than-the-subject-matter) opinion, Judge Lamberth agrees.

Read the introductory pages and the Conclusion, if nothing else. The Conclusion is not to be missed. This is why we have separation of powers - and this is 'checks and balances' in action. Read and marvel. Oh yes, and the next time someone tells you to 'just trust the government' or that 'the government has your best interests in mind' - show them this document and ask them if they're sure of that without at least checking. Then ask them if they know for certain which piece of 'the government' they're talking about.

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June 29, 2005

New Tech from Disaster Movie Spoofs

Anyone ever see the stupid spoof of the even stupider 'Seventies Disaster Movie' genre called The Big Bus? I was forcibly reminded of it yesterday when reading about the Shinkansen. The Big Bus, at one point, attempted to slow itself by 'raising the flags of all nations' from the roof...well, the new Shinkansen does just that, but with scarily Hello Kitty ear-shaped airbrakes.


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June 27, 2005

She blinded me...

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

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June 20, 2005

POLO, Osama bin Laden!

Via the incomparable Fafblog.

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June 8, 2005

All O'Reilly, All the Time

Can there be a better domain name than www.sweetjesusihatebilloreilly.com?

Also: Max Cannon is a genius.

That is all.

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May 25, 2005

If I had a lot of money

How's that for a cliched post title?

In any case, if I did, I'd be so into the Gumball 3000 shenanigans...

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May 17, 2005

"Of course not, silly. You're a *boy*."

...the best answer ever to "Wings? I don't have wings!"

Now comes this news - that twenty-five years or so after the original, there may be a sequel to The Dark Crystal, which is one of my favorite non-mainline fantasy films ever. I don't know the history the various fan opinions on the thread are referring to, but I will say this - I can certainly hope the sequel lives up to the original both in campy fun factor and in genuine fantasy adventure.

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May 12, 2005

Inside Dated Joke du Jour


cough splutter wheeze

From Terranova, talking about 'insider's MMOG humor' comes this gem: "For example, the World of Warcraft Horde guild that I saw the other day called 'My Little Pwnies', which is truly funny but only if you know both l33tspeak and children's culture."


Yes, I know, I'm a loser old geek. Leave off.

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May 6, 2005

Link whoring for laughter

Oh man. I'm all up dat shizzle laughing like a punk-ass beeyotch, mah nizzlefizzle.

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May 2, 2005

I am wonderfully amused

by the phrase 'acres of clams.' (hat tip MeFi

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April 29, 2005

Sometimes I think we may just survive.

As long as things like this happen.

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April 27, 2005

Citibank vulnerable to attacks described by Hollywood 17 years ago

Cory Doctorow has had someone mess with him in a totally uncool manner. I must stand with him on this one regarding the fairly cavalier attitude large companies (and especially Citibank, whom I won't deal with anymore) have towards their customers' privacy, financial security and data safety. One quick addendum: this isn't anything new. For a textbook example of this tactic, one can see it done verbatim on film back in 1988. What's really annoying is that nothing's been done to deal with the attack method since then - if Hollywood knows how to do something, that's usually an indicator that it won't work in reality - but not here, apparently.

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April 20, 2005

For all those who think the workings of the U.S. Government are uniformly boring

...I strongly recommend this link. Embedded within it is a 'move on to the next diary' link you can follow for round two. It is a blow-by-blow liveblogging of yesterday's attempted confirmation vote, in which (apparently) the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, chaired by Sen. Richard Lugar, tried to fast-track Bolton's appointment as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. They tried to do so by voting to move the nomination to the floor of the Senate, where it would be voted on by the entire body (and where the Republicans have a comfortable majority).

Some critical background: There have been allegations in recent weeks that Bolton, in addition to his public statements disparaging the United Nations (which make him an odd choice to represent the U.S. there, in my opinion) attempted on several occasions to have subordinate analysts who disagreed with him or would not support positions he espoused fired from their jobs - despite those positions proving later to be unsupported by evidence. In addition, there are rumors of additional allegations of personal impropriety that have surfaced, rumors of evidence supporting them as well. During one period, Bolton apparently requested that the NSA provide him with the names of American government officials whose voices were captured on communications intercepts of foreign targets - apparently in order to determine which of his colleagues were opposing his initiatives inside his department.

In a more immediate context, the committee is (in this hearing) attempting to vote to bring the nomination to the floor. You will hear Sen. Lugar refer to 'five o'clock' because the Senate is in recess until that time, which is why they are able to hold the meeting; at that time, the Senate is scheduled to resume business, and the committee business must close. Therefore, Sen. Lugar has only until 5:00 pm to hold a vote to move Mr. Bolton's nomination to the floor.

There are eighteen members of the committee. Ten of those are Republican, and eight Democrat. If a vote is held to move the candidate to the floor, it can be assumed in one sense that Mr. Lugar has done his job as a 'loyal Republican' - moved the President's nominee to the full Senate, where his party holds sway. He will be pressing to do just that. He is opposed by several Democrats, who (while they do not hold a majority on the committee) feel that the facts the committee have heard make it plain that John Bolton is, frankly, a poor candidate, and they will do all they can to convince any of their Republican colleagues to 'vote their conscience' using whatever procedural means are at their disposal to increase their chances of making their case. Even a delay in the vote is a victory of sorts for the Democrats, as the inability to push the vote to the floor with a 10-8 majority indicates that at least one Republican is wavering on the party's nominee - a clear sign of weakness given the overwhelming advantage the Republicans currently hold in Congress. Couple that with the current Republican rhetoric that nominees (for example, judicial nominees) are being held up by Democratic obstructionism, and a Republican defection is suddenly magnified.

In any case, the political theater is awesome. I strongly recommend that you watch the hearings as well; C-SPAN has them available, although their choice of format is, frankly, abysmal.

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April 18, 2005

Damn Yankee

...at least, my spoken English is, according to an online test.

Your Linguistic Profile:

50% General American English
40% Yankee
5% Dixie
5% Upper Midwestern
0% Midwestern
What Kind of American English Do You Speak?

Not bad, either...I'm from NYC, but Mom's from St. Louis and Dad's from Chicago, so it makes sense.

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April 13, 2005


If they can have theirs, I can have mine.

Prima facie, this seems a decent plan.

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April 1, 2005

Want to feel inadequate? Welcome to the internet.

The indefatiguable Luis Villa reminds me, after my previous entry, that whatever you say on the Internet, someone has said it better. Well, no, he was really cool about it and really didn't mean it that way - he just thought I might find it a good read (suuuuure, like he wasn't trying to save you all from the sap-factor of my o'erweening nationalist fromagefest by suggesting I read my betters). Okay, Luis. Okay. Message received. :-)

Everyone should check out what happens when someone with a much stronger sense of humor than I misses Republicans. Because it's funny. Also because it's true.

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March 25, 2005

Not by Ken Burns

This had me laughing my gizzard out at work.

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March 24, 2005

From simplicity, genius.

Whenever you find yourself struggling with complex plots in books, or convoluted gimmickry in films, take a deep breath and meditate on the proven Zen of Chuck Jones - condensed into ten simple rules. These ten simple rules, properly applied, are why the original Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote cartoons are works of staggering genius, and so many others suck rocks.

I would have to add an intangible, there - timing. The 1960s saw an attempt to reissue the duo in a new series of cartoons which appear on the surface to follow these rules - but fall massively flat. The timing is just way off. A couple of obvious differences in the two series include music which is noticeably changed, including the use (in the latter, failed version) of 'musical dialogue' - a near-violation of some of Chuck's Rules. The later 'toons also involve much more 'mugging for the camera.'

Finally, a personal observation on the whole nature of the victim in each. Wile E., in the later editions, is a smug and annoying bastard who is deserving of every bash on the head. The Roadrunner in those is almost a Deus Ex Machina put there to provide it as the filmmakers eagerly share the relief of bashing said noggin with the viewers - losing the entire tao-like sense of balance that the originals maintain. The originals posit a situation of equilibrium, where all the violations of physics serve to maintain a comic balance that can never change, and we the audience know that. The Road Runner knows that. Wile E. doesn't - and that's what makes him sympathetic. We watch him try to deform reality in his desired direction, and reality itself - not a smug director, writer, filmmaker or even Roadrunner - slaps him back. His refusal or inability to understand his predicament is what make his reactions and his perils so funny (to me, at least).

The later ones were nothing more than cheap shots at some poor yokel who was to dumb to know better, taken by an actor (whether the Roadrunner, the director, or the audience, it's irrelevant). That's the difference. The originals were classic existential farce, worthy animated successors to Herriman's Krazy Kat.

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March 18, 2005

Compelling disturbance

PostSecret is a collection of postcards on which the public has been encouraged to send in secrets, anonymously, for display to all.

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