Sunday, October 31, 2004

x-men 3: carbito returns

nice little article on the obesity epidemic on the beeb:

Obesity rates are escalating everywhere. More than 300 million adults worldwide are overweight and most of them are suffering from weight-related illnesses like diabetes, heart disease and sleeping disorders.
In South Africa, one in three men and more than one in two adult women are overweight and obese. These are same levels as in the United States.

In Morocco 40% of the population are overweight, while in Kenya it is 12%. In Nigeria it is estimated that between 6% and 8% of people are obese.
"On an African level we see now that obesity is a really major disease, in line with HIV and malnutrition. And it's quite clear that malnutrition and obesity can co-exist at the same time and in the same country," she said.
Traditionally seen as a sign of wealth, being fat now has another significance for people living here.

Aids has had the nickname "slim" in Africa for many years because it makes its victims literally waste away. As a result, people do not want to lose weight in case others think they are HIV-positive.
"If you always think about fixing, whether it's HIV or obesity, by treating the final problem you're always going to be in a mess.

"We've got to take that lesson on board and see now how we have to change the whole way we allow cities to develop, where we don't produce cities where it's extremely difficult to exercise at all, and every turn that you make you've suddenly got a fast food outlet that's bombarding you with complete rubbish."

But Africa is not the only continent facing an obesity explosion.

About 25% of the people living in the Middle East are obese or overweight, while obesity has risen by 100% among Japanese men since 1982.
The fattest children live in the Middle East, Chile, Greece and southern Italy.

kim jong il's marketing team should start saying that they're not starving the populace -- they're preventing them from being obese.

i thought that bit on urban planning was really interesting...hopefully the blogosphere will expound on that meme in the coming weeks...

Give a hoot, don't pollute.

After watching the Steelers physically man-handle the Patriots like I man-handle JHC's dad, I was walking home and witnessed a woman walking her dog.

Of course, the dog had to relieve himself. But instead I got a special treat. He squated and began to deficate. I was actually impressed to see that the woman was prepared as she reached into her pocket and pulled out a plastic bag. Very considerate, I must say.

As I passed I felt the urge myself, so I stopped at the next tree. After making sure it wasn't already marked, I unbuckled my belt, pulled down my pants, and squated. There's nothing like the cool autumn air blowing past your anus.

I finished right as the woman was walking by me. With a disgusted look, she just stared. Realizing what I had just done, I quickly searched my pockets for a plastic bag, but alas, I was left empty handed. I looked at her and asked if she wouldn't mind picking up after me.

For some reason, the woman just turned and walked away. I couldn't believe it. She was good enough to pick up after her dog, but not good enough to help out a fellow human. If you ask me, she was a stuck up bitch. I don't know, if I'm the only one, I'll shut up.

I should have eaten her dog.

Friday, October 29, 2004

can't we agree on anything?

via marginal revolution:

What's the most effective pickup line on a college campus? Psychologists Elaine Hatfield and Russ Clark had actors (independently judged to be attractive) approach students of the opposite sex with a variety of lines and recorded their success rates.

Will you go out
with me tonight?
Will you come over to
my apartment tonight?
Will you go to bed
with me tonight?
Male Respondents50%69%75%
Female Respondents50%6%0%

more on blog sparklines

stowe boyd talks more about lukew's blog sparkline idea that i blogged about earlier.

I think the community dimension is potentially more interesting. How many readers of each entry could make the lines fatter, perhaps; or ratings (either explicit, or implicit: by link count) could be represented by a color dimension.

And finally the real-time presence aspect of the display: how many people are engaged in reading the various entries, right now? I have toyed with various swarming technologies in the past, where the number and even identities of individuals reading a post are displayed at the margin of the blog (a la Eyebees) and you are presented with the opportunity to join others in the swarm, and co-browse to the stories they are reading.

interesting ideas, esp. the swarm stuff...

Thursday, October 28, 2004

the long boom: redux

after years and years of just feeling absolutely shitty about the world and my place in it, i listened to alex steffen's pop!tech 2004 presentation, and i felt like i did back during the boom, when problems seemed solvable and the world seemed changeable. definitely give it a listen if you have the time...

WorldChanging: Another World Is Here: Making Better Bluehats

WorldChanging: Another World Is Here: Making Better Bluehats:

"What might 'Peacekeeping 2.0' look like?

Romeo Dallaire is one man to ask. As head of the UN peacekeeping mission which found itself powerless to check the genocide in Rwanda, Dallaire may have agonized more than any other person on Earth about how the world community ought to act when monumental acts of evil loom ahead. The basic take-away? The UN needs to act before, not after, genocide has begun.

Certainly most sources agree that the international community needs to learn how to stave off genocide, not just regret it. That, in turn, involves learning more about what kinds of conflicts lead to disasterous ruptures of the social fabric, which can be stopped early and how to mitigate those which erupt full-blown. The social science of peacekeeping is a very worldchanging enterprise.

But it's also clear that the UN Peacekeeping forces themselves need to undergo some fundamental reforms, and that everything from the rules of engagement under which they operate to the technologies and tactics they use must be changed."

From gold records to gold MP3s | CNET

via the shifted librarian: From gold records to gold MP3s | CNET

"It might not be the same as having a big gold record on the wall, but the Recording Industry Association of America has issued its first gold, platinum, and multiplatinum certifications for digital downloads.

The first obvious winner? Outkast's 'Hey Ya!' is the only multiplatinum single so far, with more than 400,000 downloads. Six songs qualified for platinum, or sales of 200,000 singles, and 45 titles got gold status, for selling 100,000 songs."

And Hell just froze over...

JHC actually left his apartment...

In the Crease finally talked to a girl...


The Red Sox just won the World Series.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Verizon Online - Package Price

fiber into my house? for how much??? good god man:
Verizon Online - Package Price: "Up to 15 Mbps/2 Mbps $49.95/mo"

we make money not art: Monkey controls robotic arm with thoughts

more on the brain/machine interface:

we make money not art: Monkey controls robotic arm with thoughts:

"The arm was wired into the animal's brain and intercepted signals through electrodes attached to tiny probes that tap into the animal's neuronal pathways in the motor cortex.

The neurons' activity was fed through an algorithm that interpreted the activity in the monkey's brain as it tried to move its own arm, and transmitted the signals to the robotic arm."

Niall Kennedy's Weblog: Flickr architecture

via blackbeltjones/work Niall Kennedy's Weblog: Flickr architecture:

"Some interesting statistics on Flickr as of September 2004:

* About 60,000 lines of PHP code.
* About 60,000 lines of templates.
* About 25,000 database transactions per second at peak.
* 13 selects per insert/update/delete.
* About 1,000 pages per second at peak.
* They use Java for their node service and as a FTP daemon."

pubsub and business

bob wyman posts about a pretty convincing business use of pubsub:

As the details of EMC's purchase of Dantz were being finalized, the PR teams for both companies were hoping to keep the secret until the moment they had decided to make public announcements. Unfortunately, their plans were leaked in an untimely slashdot article. This premature disclosure could have made a real mess of their PR plan if it weren't for the fact that Guillaume du Gardier, a member of the public relations team in France, was a blogger and had a PubSub subscription to mentions of EMC and Dantz. Because of his subscription, Guillaume -- not a regular reader of slashdot -- was the first on the EMC/Dantz team to discover the leak when he got the alert from PubSub... Once notified of the leak, the team was able to move quickly to regain control of the situation. Guillaume concludes on his blog that "PR Pro can't ignore blogging" I think he's probably also become a dedicated user of PubSub...

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

so necessary

the velvet store...proprieter of all things both velvet and elvis. truly nobrow art.

Yahoo! News - Billboard Rolls Out Cell Phone Ringtone Chart

via waxy links: Yahoo! News - Billboard Rolls Out Cell Phone Ringtone Chart

The ringtone market has exploded in recent years, with global revenues estimated to have topped $3.5 billion in 2003 [ed: FUCK!]....[ed: FUCK!!!], according to industry estimates.
The first ringtone chart will appear in the Nov. 6 issue of Billboard, which is compiling the chart with Consect, a provider of U.S. mobile market analysis. The data for the chart will be aggregated from major ringtone distributors and wireless carriers.

According to a recent report by Consect, the U.S. market for cell phone rings based on hit songs is growing faster than any other region, projected to increase by 100 percent to $300 million in 2004, but it still lags other markets, with Western Europe seen generating $1.5 billion and Asia as a whole will make $1.8 billion. South Korea (news - web sites) alone is set to take in $500 million for ringtones, according to reports.

the economists' voice

via unicast:

The second issue of The Economists' Voice is out. EV is a journal published by Berkeley Electronic Press and edited by Joseph Stiglitz, Brad Delong and Aaron Edlin, with non-technical articles written by economists.

here's the contents...i'll try and post on the political betting markets article tommorrow...

engadget: Lego robot plays Super Mario Bros…and wins

Lego robot plays Super Mario Bros…and wins:

"In an ongoing effort to rid the world of productive robots, three college students have crafted a Legobot that can beat the first level of Super Mario Bros. Using Legos and a basic circuit board, Matt Sesno, Ben Rowe, and Tim Dooley built a robot made of Legos that is capable of playing Super Mario Bros., the first Mario-based platform game for the NES, and even beating the first level." - Judge throws party, hands down life sentence - Oct 26, 2004

hilarious: - Judge throws party, hands down life sentence - Oct 26, 2004:

DALLAS, Texas (AP) -- A judge threw a party complete with balloons, streamers and a cake to welcome a former fugitive back to her court -- and sentence him to life in prison.

"You just made my day when I heard you had finally come home," Criminal Courts Judge Faith Johnson told Billy Wayne Williams, who had been convicted in absentia of aggravated assault after he disappeared a year ago. "We're so excited to see you, we're throwing a party for you."
Before he was brought into the courtroom on Monday, the judge directed staff members as they placed balloons and streamers around the courtroom. A colorful cake was decorated with his name and one candle to signify the year he spent on the lam.

"It seems like everyone wants to have a party, and it's fun for you people, but not for me," Williams told reporters as he was led away in handcuffs.

Seana Willing, executive director of the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct, said she found the incident troubling. "It's the kind of thing I look at and scratch my head and wonder, `What was she thinking?"' Willing said.

She questioned whether the party violated standards of decorum and impartiality.

more solar power

a couple of posts on solar power, again, via world changing:

first post:
As one example, she said more rural people in Kenya get electricity from PV than the grid but there's no coordination between the grid and the distribution of PV. She is endeavoring to do a systems analysis of the problem. Furthermore, there is no linkage between PV and existing rural businesses: grain milling, restaurants, brewery/bars, snack shops/kiosks, satellite TVs, and mobile phones. The only business that can conceivably be all or predominantly solar is the mobile phone business. There are no warranties or insurance in rural Africa so development experiments can't afford to fail.

second post:
"World production of solar cells—which convert sunlight directly into electricity—soared to 742 megawatts (MW) in 2003, a jump of 32 percent in just one year. With solar cell production growing by 27 percent annually over the past five years, cumulative world production now stands at 3,145 MW, enough to meet the electricity needs of more than a million homes. This extraordinary growth is driven to some degree by improvements in materials and technology, but primarily by market introduction programs and government incentives."

post bubble entrepreneurship

via emergic, business week has a special report on young tech entrepreneurs:

Championing a Wiki World:
Socialtext co-founder and CEO Ross Mayfield makes no apologies for the threadbare setup. Increasingly inexpensive and ubiquitous information technologies such as the Internet, wireless connections, and cheap computer servers, he says, allow him to run the company with far less money and fewer people than he could have a decade ago -- without scrimping on features or quality. Says the 34-year-old serial entrepreneur: "This is the prototype of the new Internet startup."
Befitting the leaner times, Socialtext has subsisted on less than $300,000 from friends and other social-software entrepreneurs such as LinkedIn CEO Reid Hoffman and Tribe Networks CEO Mark Pincus. Last month, it got another $300,000 from the Omidyar Network, the semi-philanthropic organization launched by eBay (EBAY ) founder and Chairman Pierre Omidyar and several other individuals. That's in stark contrast to the boom, when multimillion-dollar initial rounds were all but mandatory.

How has Mayfield survived on the cheap? Partly by using his company's own wiki software to get things done. Mayfield does his work on Socialtext's internal wiki wherever his laptop is, from his home office to the nearby café that has free wireless Internet service. So do colleagues in places such as Silicon Valley, Chicago, Indianapolis, New York, Canada, and Taiwan.

They also use free Internet-based teleconferencing and long-distance calling services. "The infrastructure costs are a tenth of what they used to be," says Mayfield. "We can do more work with lower cost because of teleconferencing and the Internet."

They also use the Net to do all their marketing, essentially for free. For one, Mayfield and several other founders write well-read blogs on social software and related topics...

btw, if you are interested in wikis, and haven't seen the jotspot demo udell put up, you should check it out. also, weblogsinc has an mp3 of the jotspot session at web2.0.

Machine Dreams - Interview - CIO Magazine Oct 15,2004

the ray kurzwil cio interview that has been making the rounds: Machine Dreams - Interview - CIO Magazine Oct 15,2004

Do you think that someday there'll be legal limits on how long people can live?

Not if I have anything to say about it. But there's a very powerful "death-ist" need. People really have it deeply ingrained. Life is short. You can't live forever. The only things that are certain are death and taxes. We have this whole so-called normal lifecycle; certain things happen at certain ages. We've rationalized death, which in my view is a profound tragedy and a tremendous loss of knowledge and expertise. And we have rationalized it as a good thing. I guess if there's nothing you can do about it, the best thing you can do is rationalize it, but there will be things that we can do about it.
I eat a certain diet. I take 250 supplements a day. I'm really reprogramming my biochemistry. A lot of people think it's good to be natural. I don't think it's good because biological evolution is not on our side.

GlucoBoy brings blood sugar monitoring to GameBoy - Engadget -

genius: GlucoBoy brings blood sugar monitoring to GameBoy - Engadget -

Creator Paul Wessel noticed that his son, who was diagnosed with diabetes at age 3, carried his GameBoy everywhere. Wessel figured, hey - why not just turn the thing into a blood sugar monitor?

Monday, October 25, 2004

jon stewart on c-span

incase you haven't seen it yet, here's a link (it will open in realplayer) to the jon stewart interview on c-span. the server might cock block you, so you might want to try again tommorrow or something after the flood is over. hopefully, someone will be able to rip it and put a torrent up...

btw, has anybody come across a torrent of the 60 minutes jon stewart interview?

visualizing blog threads and debates

rklancer's points to an interesting post on functioning form about using tufte's sparklines for providing thread context to blog posts. it's a fairly interesting idea -- allowing posts to be atomic yet connected in an easily navigable fashion --, and i think that it should be extended even further so that off-site discussions on the thread (read: trackbacks and comment-linkbacks) can be displayed as well. perhaps this would be cumbersome for posts with more than 2 off-site continuations, but it might be interesting nonetheless...

update: oh, totally forgot to mention, but a bayseian classifier would be great too. perhaps the sparkline would differentiate between 'hard', literal links and 'soft', inferred links generated by the classifier.

functioning form also has a design for a debate-centric post format, which would be especially useful in the contentious world of political blogs. however, i would like to see this format support a further reductionism and formalization...torless once mentioned his belief that all arguments stem from differing readings of a single core idiom -- the quicker this difference can be elucidated, the more productive the argument/discussion. with this in mind, i think it would be interesting to build a simple blog-debate interface that enables the debaters to formalize their arguments, harkening back to the days of high-school geometric proofs. each assumption/position/opinion would be a line item subsuming factual line items for support. the oposing debator could then challenge the validity of a given line item with their own items, etc.

Google Answers: whistling

again via waxy links: Google Answers: whistling

there's some serious hypoxic injury going on in la cabeza due to this.

Dietrich Ayala | Foxylicious - Firefox and bookmark integration hotness via waxy links: Dietrich Ayala | Foxylicious - Firefox and bookmark integration

i'm somewhat of an ardent mozilla suite user, but maybe i'll switch to firefox after 1.0 final is out...

WorldChanging: Another World Is Here: FedEx's Solar System

WorldChanging: Another World Is Here: FedEx's Solar System

No, not a set of planets, but a private power grid. Reuters reports that FedEx is set to build the second-largest private solar power system in Oakland, California. At 904 kilowatts, it will supply 25% of FedEx's annual power requirements at its shipping hub at Oakland Airport.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

sleep softly my brilliant robot

anoniffer and i were just talking about sleep, learning, provigil, the braindish (fucking craziness), etc., and then this article popped up in my aggregator. is 'the internets' listening to my real-life conversations like a jealous girlfriend? i wouldn't know, b/c i don't know what it's like to actually have a jealous girlfriend. or a girlfriend for that is tough.

perhaps i will blog about it one day.

The robot that learns while sleeping
07:16 AM robots

Saint-Louis based AI company Imagination Engines Inc claims to have developed a robot able to learn and dream.

They have developed the "Neural Network Based Prototyping System and Method" wherein neural networks spontaneously connect themselves in a matter of seconds into the neural circuitry required for ambitious robotic brains.

new form of birth control

via kottke:

- Phillip Longman: ...And in Brazil, television viewing time predicts birth rate...the more TV a woman watches, the less likely she is to have children.

and the less likely she is to have my fucking shirt ironed too! goddamnit! do i have to do everything in this house?!

Friday, October 22, 2004

Lemonodor: MIT CADR Emulator

lisp machines give me a full erection...sadly.

The Onion | A Day Off? Sheeit

The Onion | A Day Off? Sheeit

So long, Goodbye (Elliott Smith Tribute)

It was about this time last year that I heard about the death of Elliott Smith. It was all too surreal to me. Though his songs were always depressing, the word on the street was that he was making a comback. Elliott told us stories of his alcoholism and addiction to herion in his first two albums, Roman Candle and Elliott Smith, but they seemed to go away Either/Or [2], XO, and Figure 8. It was reported that he was doing much better by the time that he went from his small time label Kill Rock Stars to Dreamworks. But apparently the fame had gotten to him. He said he started to feel closterphobic, which I suppose to anyone who would change their name from Steven Paul to Elliott, to feel less jock like, would be a major problem. Elliott was never one for the fame. This apparently forced him back to drugs and alcohol.

It was reported that he was back to his old haunts before his death. One year ago, it was reported that he died from two stab woulds to his heart. At the time they were supposedly self-inflicted, but the correner deemed it inconclusive of suicide. When I heard he died, there was no doubt in my mind that he committed suicide. It seemed as if all the signs pointed to yes. It was a huge blow in my life. How could someone who I respected and loved, simply through music, die by his own hands? He was the one there for me when no one else could be there for me, yet now suddenly he was gone. Though I never knew him, I felt as if his presence from my life was gone. As if the fact that he was still living anywhere gave me the strengh to keep on pushing on. But then he was gone, leaving a gaping whole in my chest as well as others. One year later, his last album was released. Basement at the Botom of the Hill had to be finished by friends of Elliott and lacks the unity and cohesive sound that made Elliott's music what it was.
I may have never known Elliott Smith, but I just wanted to state how much of a difference his music has made in my life. I still miss him one year later and probably always will.

[Some tracks from NPR of newest album]

Some Song - unreleased on an album
Between the Bars - Released on Either/Or. Also on Good Will Hunting Soundtrack

if you want anymore, you can always purchase his albums

Thursday, October 21, 2004

castro placed on injured reserve

Castro 'breaks arm' in rally fall. cuba immediately moves from astroturf to fieldturf.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Jon Stewart on Crossfire

This was a great segment by Stewart and he really put them in their place. It's really sad to watch the guy in the bow tie try to be funny, but it just doesn't work for him. Stewart makes some very good points though.

Check out his "spin" when he's back on The Daily Show.

editorial note from jesus h. christos:

dear in the crease,

please try to post things that aren't already as worn out as g.k.'s crusty vag after you are done thrusting your stinky into her cha-cha. other people read this blog, and it reflects poorly on me when you post shit this old. even my parents -- who still type emails in all caps and double click on hyperlinks -- have seen this clip.

best regards,
jesus. - Americans cross border for flu shots - Oct 20, 2004


BISMARCK, North Dakota (AP) -- With a shortage of flu vaccine across the country, Margaret Holmen and others from the Powers Lake Senior Citizens Center have been talking about going to Canada for their shots.

Clinics and pharmacies across the border are offering to inoculate U.S. residents, and Holmen said she planned to call clinics in Estevan, Saskatchewan, if she cannot get a flu shot in North Dakota this week.
Urgent Care Niagara's Fort Erie clinic, just across the border from Buffalo, said it would vaccinate 100 Americans a day, for around $40 U.S. each, squeezing them in among Canadian patients who got first priority.

Virginia Matysiak was No. 100. She and her son Kenneth picked up the number after waiting in line then killed time at the nearby Fort Erie Race Track and Slots. "We ate lunch and played and came back" -- $100 richer, she said.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

bayesian nets and hci

via green hat journal:

Eric Horvitz gave a talk on recent work at Microsoft Research's Adaptive Systems Group. First, he demonstrated a system that determines whether it should interrupt you with new information (email, IM, stock quote, etc.) by watching the applications you use, listening to the noise in the room, watching the pose of your head, and 40 other variables...

All these systems use Bayesian networks to aggregate all the variables into a probability. For the first system, it determines the probability that you would want some info by weighing the importance of the info against how busy you appear to be. I was surprised that the most important variables was so simple: if you are switching between apps frequently, you're probably not too busy. Some people suggested adding some context aware clues, like "if I'm using Visual Studio then I'm programming and don't want to be disturbed"...

Saturday, October 16, 2004


in the crease and i were talking about james burke's show connections that was on the learning channel when we were whippersnappers. incidentally, you can buy the dvds here if you have the disposable income. anyway, i also came across this speech that he gave for the smithsonian associates on the limitations of our current innovation architectures (i.e., specialization). i thought it was pretty interesting:

this new way of generating information really seperates and isolates the specialist community, whose work becomes increasingly subdivided and less comprehensible. and the way to success in this new reductionist noodler's paradise is to learn more and more about less and less. more true today than ever before: a pal of mine at oxford got his doctorate in milton's use of the comma. you laugh, he's now the head of the english department at a major american unversity. because he did, he did what reductionism requires you to do to be a success: make your specialist niche so incomprehensible that nobody else but you understands what it is, and so narrow in focus that there's only room in there for you...and your comma.
all i'm suggesting is that there might be other kinds of talent that we have not been organizationally and technically able to make use of until now. partly because reductionalist specialism has been so tremendously successful that it has been, if you like, institutionalized. organizations have done this very effectively throught the division of labor, departmentalization...that stuff. other modes of thought having been through history discouraged for very good historical reasons: we had no other choice. there wasn't the technology around. the argument that i am making is because of those technological constraints, the top down decision making processes and all that, up to now, we have lived with and accepted what you might describe as a culture of scarcity. at any time, there was never either the technology available or the need to involve more than a few people in the process. and with 99.9% of the human race illiterate up till this century, and their requirements through history little more than basic survival requirements, it became a given that innovative and self expressive talent was a rarity. but see that in the light of what i said earlier: that this aristocracy of talent might have been no more than an artifact of the very limited technology available at any time.

Friday, October 15, 2004

the political jane goodall

rolling stone has this great article about going undercover within the republican party (via grahamazon):

...Let me explain by first saying something about the critics of our president. A great many of them like to laugh at George Bush for not reading books and for being uninterested in visiting other countries. But a lot of those same people are guilty of the opposite offense. They prefer to read books and travel abroad rather than actually getting to know their own country face to face.

These critics do a terrific job of mocking his mental deficiencies and dismissing his supporters as hapless morons, but they do not do a very good job of explaining the nature of his support. ...

This is the wrong approach. As a professional misanthrope, I believe that if you are going to hate a person, you ought to do it properly. You should go and live in his shoes for a while and see at the end of it how much you hate yourself.
My cover story was a travesty, an idiotic tissue of halfhearted lies. ... The story's only saving grace was that the truth was so much more unbelievable. Republicans are paranoid enough to expect a mole from the Kerry campaign, but I was far worse than that -- a dissolute, drug-abusing anarchist who reads the battle diaries of Vietnamese generals on rainy days, roots for Russia at the Olympics and once published an article titled "God Can Suck My Dick."
You get that same besieged fraternal feeling in a Republican campaign office. There is no M*A*S*H ensemble-cast repartee. Nobody wears T-shirts that mean something, and nobody looks cool. As I would later find out, most Republicans hate "cool" ("They all think they're so cool and artistic," griped one woman as she watched Fox coverage of Democratic delegates arriving in Boston). Many of the parent volunteers I met were especially bitter because they think that cool is what liberals use to lure their children away. Which they might very well be right about, of course.

international shipping

ethan zuckerman (via dave winer) looks into the economics of international shipping:

Doesn't it seem logical that bottled water from New England would be cheaper than that bottled water from halfway around the world?

It's certainly what I thought. But hey, as so often happens, I'm completely wrong.

Turns out that overseas shipping costs are so unbelievably cheap, they strain credulity. The Agricultural Marketing Service of the US Department of Agriculture maintains very useful data on domestic and international transport costs. The quarterly Ocean Rate Bulletin provides costs for shipping a 40' container of animal feed, poultry, onions, hay or 13 other agricultural commodities from California ports to a number of major Asian ports. While there's no available rate for shipping bottled water, the rates for 40' containers of wine (mmm, 40-foot container of wine...) to various ports range from $920 to $3,770, averaging around $1800.

How much water or wine is in a 40 foot container? According to the fine folks at Export911, 40 foot containers generally carry 24,000kg or less. Since water conveniently weighs a kilo per liter, that's 24,000 bottles for $1,800, or $0.075 per bottle. Assume that Suva gets less container traffic than Hong Kong and that I'm not considering packaging weight, and the price might rise to the princely sum of a dime a bottle.

bitch please

i just tried to install google desktop and was immediately cock-blocked. the conversation was as follows:

google desktop installer: "i need at least 1 gigabyte of free space to install."
me: "nigga whaaaat?"

not that big of a deal anyway. i basically don't use any of the programs that it indexes...i guess i'll make some space for it once they give it some mozilla goodness.

the secret knowledge of wikis

the red herring (again, via dave winer) has an interesting article on the political zeitgeist of wikis:

Wikis, touted as the next big thing in online content, have become the latest battleground in the presidential election as users of online encyclopedia Wikipedia, the best-known wiki, squabble over entries related to President George W. Bush and Democratic challenger John Kerry, the junior senator from Massachusetts.
Indeed, entries for Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry have become the most contentious in the history of Wikipedia, said Wikipedia creator Jimmy Wales, president of the Wikipedia Foundation, which is based in St. Petersburg, Florida. Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry have created even more debate than entries for sex and religion. As of October 8, Wikipedia’s President Bush entry had been tweaked 3,953 times. Its entry for Senator Kerry had been modified 3,230 times. By contrast, Wikipedia’s article on Jesus has only been edited 1,855 times since the site’s inception in 2001.

“George Bush is no question a controversial president,” said Mr. Wales. “But he’s also the only president we’ve had since the Wikipedia began.”...

Friday, October 08, 2004

kids are so cute these days

via cnn:

BARSTOW, California (AP) -- An 11-year-old attacked her baby sitter with a machete during a struggle that included attempts by the girl to grab a baseball bat, a shovel and a BB gun, investigators said.
The girl and the sitter had gotten into an argument over feeding a dog, and the girl began to beat and choke the animal, Hubbard said. The sitter tried to pry the girl off the dog.

The scuffle moved to the front yard, where the girl grabbed a shovel and then a baseball bat in an attempt to attack the woman, Hubbard said. The girl next found a BB gun, but the woman got it away from her, he said.

The altercation continued until the girl found the machete lying in the yard and began to chase the woman, who took refuge in the bathroom, Hubbard said.

in response, california governor arnold schwarzenegger said in a press release, "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women! That is what is best in life!"

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

nerd alert: laszlo open-sourced

dear nerds, great news.

no, this has nothing to do with star trek/wars.

laszlo has been open-sourced.

Monday, October 04, 2004

jon stewart on fresh air

via sippey:

check out this non-terry gross fresh air interview of jon stewart on politics, humor, and media responsibility.

the picture is from here.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

This will be my PhD

Along the lines of the Spanish doctoral study on porn that I found the other day, I just found this documentary on porn on the PBS site while ironically not looking for porn. Haven't gotten a chance to read or watch it yet, but the porn industry is an amazing money making concept. PBS probably did a good job. I mean how hard is it to show scantily clad females on tv and it not be good. As long as they don't have Mr. T from the letter people hosting the show. God that show was so scary.

message to penis: prepare to be beaten

i might have to get a tv: amy poehler and tina fey, united at long last.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

who said the NFL stands for "no fun league"?

via the post-gazette:

A woman sued Green Bay Packers fullback Najeh Davenport, saying he invaded her privacy by breaking into her dorm room and defecating in her closet.
Mary McCarthy, asleep in the room, told police she was startled awake by a strange sound and saw a man squatting in her closet. The man, later identified as Davenport, had defecated in her laundry basket, police said.

The suit said Davenport's conduct was "so outrageous in character and so extreme in degree as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency and, further, can only be deemed atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized community."

come on baby, don't talk that way!

just be thankful that it wasn't ray lewis hiding in your closet.


Friday, October 01, 2004

politics sux0rs

via harper's index:

Percentage of college students majoring in the humanities who say politics are relevant to their lives : 72 [Panetta Institute (Seaside, Calif.) ]

Percentage of students majoring in computer science who say this : 36