Tuesday, November 30, 2004


tony pierce waxes prophetic on marriage:

if i was president it would be a five year process to get married.

youd have to register when you became "engaged." then youd have to start living together. then once a month the neighborhood cop would be required to check in on you and ask some personal questions.

very personal questions.

after their first year together the man would have to be responsible for the dishes, and learn how to cook.

the woman would have to watch sports and read bukowski.
after the third year together the couple would be required to volunteer at a battered womans center, at an emergency room, at an orphanage, and at a homeless shelter. once a week, ingrates.

the man will be tested on his ability to make a homemade chicken noodle soup, a casserole of some sort, a rare steak, a filet of fish, and ice cream from scratch.

the woman will be required to win in at least one fantasy football league.


interesting paper on changethis about biodiesel

In the United States, oil is primarily used for transportation — roughly two-thirds of all oil use, in fact. So, developing an alternative means of powering our cars, trucks, and buses would go a long way towards weaning us, and the world, off of oil. While the so-called "hydrogen economy" receives a lot of attention in the media, there are several very serious problems with using hydrogen as an automotive fuel. For automobiles, the best alternative at present is clearly biodiesel, a fuel that can be used in existing diesel engines with no changes, and is made from vegetable oils or animal fats rather than petroleum.
One of the biggest advantages of biodiesel compared to many other alternative transportation fuels is that it can be used in existing diesel engines without modification, and can be blended in at any ratio with petroleum diesel.
One of the important concerns about wide-scale development of biodiesel is if it would displace croplands currently used for food crops. In the US, roughly 450 million acres of land is used for growing crops, with the majority of that actually being used for producing animal feed for the meat industry. Another 580 million acres is used for grassland pasture and range, according to the USDA's Economic Research Service.
NREL's research showed that one quad (ten billion gallons) of biodiesel could be produced from 200,000 hectares of desert land (200,000 hectares is equivalent to 780 square miles, roughly 500,000 acres), if the remaining challenges are solved (as they will be, with several research groups and companies working towards it, including ours at UNH). In the previous section, we found that to replace all transportation fuels in the US, we would need 140.8 billion gallons of biodiesel, or roughly 19 quads (one quad is roughly 7.5 billion gallons of biodiesel). To produce that amount would require a land mass of almost 15,000 square miles. To put that in perspective, consider that the Sonora desert in the southwestern US comprises 120,000 square miles. Enough biodiesel to replace all petroleum transportation fuels could be grown in 15,000 square miles, or roughly nine percent of the area of the Sonora desert.
[the costs] equate to $46.2 billion per year for all the algae farms, to yield all the oil feedstock necessary for the entire country. Compare that to the $100-150 billion the US spends each year just on purchasing crude oil from foreign countries, with all of that money leaving the US economy.

apparently, you can make your own biodiesel at home too.

commuter stress

via el bbc-o:

Commuters can experience greater stress than fighter pilots going into battle or riot policemen, a new study says.
Dr Lewis, who measured the stress levels of the commuters for five years, has identified a syndrome he calls "commuter amnesia", where people forget large parts of their journey because of stress.

"The survey suggests an average commute is between 45-60 minutes," he said.

"That is at least a working day a week that you are losing completely out of your life.
But it was not known if commuters risked damaging their health in the long term.

Monday, November 29, 2004

reference visualization

alf eaton over at hublog makes me feel lazy and worthless by releasing two touchgraph-based reference-visualization tools: one for google scholar and another for amazon.

Portable Firefox 1.0 (USB Drive-Friendly) :: Mozilla Stuff :: JohnHaller.com

via hack a day:

Portable Firefox 1.0 (USB Drive-Friendly) :: Mozilla Stuff :: JohnHaller.com:

"Portable Firefox is a fully functional package of Firefox optimized for use on a USB key drive. It has some specially-selected optimizations to make it perform faster and extend the life of your USB key as well as a specialized launcher that will allow most of your favorite extensions to work as you switch computers."

web-service purchasing price parity

ben hammersley gives some data points on international web-service pricing:

However, with services, and especially hosted services running from the same machine no matter where I access them from, it’s deeply galling to see weird dual pricing. As a European, too, it seems that we on this side of the Atlantic always get the shitty end of the stick.

Take Typepad. The US version, Typepad.com, comes in at $4.95 a month. Fair enough: it’s a very nice system. But Typepad.fr .de .es and .nl all cost €4.95 a month for the same thing. That’s $6.57 at today’s exchange rate. Paid by credit card too, so there’s absolutely no need for exchange rate arbitrage on Six Apart’s part.
When it comes to hosted services like these, especially where the interface, offering and hosting is exactly the same, and where the company concerned makes its living on the internet, you would expect them to understand the concept of transparent pricing.

And weblogs.

cost of smoking

quicklinked on over my med body:

DURHAM, N.C. Nov 25, 2004 — Cigarettes may cost smokers more then they believe. A study by a team of health economists finds the combined price paid by their families and society is about $41 per pack of cigarettes.

The figure is based on costs for a 24-year-old smoker over 60 years for cigarettes, taxes, insurance, medical care and lost earnings because of smoking-related disabilities, researchers said.
Smokers pay about $33 of the cost, their families absorb about $7 and others pay a little less than $1.50, according to health economists from Duke University and a professor from the University of South Florida. The study drew on data including Social Security earnings histories dating to 1951.
Despite the finding that smoking is a costly habit for individuals, society carries less of a burden than generally believed, the study's authors determined.

"The reason the number is low is that for private pensions, Social Security, and Medicare the biggest factors in calculating costs to society smoking actually saves money," Sloan said. "Smokers die at a younger age and don't draw on the funds they've paid into those systems."

as a non-smoking member of society, i say smoke on comrades. smoke on.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

flickr style photo notes on your own server

flash-based RIA tool for commenting photographs, by the 2entwine guys:

We've released a web utility called FotoBuzz which allows you to annotate JPEGs using Flash on the client side and PHP/Python on the server-side. It's dirt easy to integrate into existing webpages. After including some CSS and JavaScript in the HTML head, all you have to do is add a single attribute to the image tag and it will do the rest for you.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

kill me now

juan rodriguez says: SUCK IT!!
Originally uploaded by jhc.

this guy -- yes THIS ==> GUY -- is about to get more ass than you can possibly imagine.

NEW YORK - With just 78 cents in his savings account and $44,000 owed to creditors, parking attendant Juan Rodriguez plunked down $1 on a lottery ticket.

Good thing he wasn’t pinching pennies: He won the $88.5 million jackpot.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

amazon japan making power moves

via gizmodo:

Amazon Japan has introduced a flattering new feature called "Amazon Scan Search." After users download an application to their cell phone free of charge, they can scan barcodes of ordinary products, which in turn enables them to search the cell phone version of Amazon.co.jp for the respective product. Once they get a result on their search, they can then choose to purchase the item right from their phone.


new scientist interview with an interrogator

Every detainee behaves differently. It depends whether he's from the city or the village, or a Bedouin from the desert. It depends whether he's educated or not. Prison is unimaginably different to normal life. People behave in unexpected ways. People who talk tough in public often submit in interrogation.

the 'new' microfinance

found this blog on the 'new' microfinance via my microfinance pubsub (btw, i like the new UI). it doesn't look like it is updated that regularly, but i found the description interesting:

New microfinance represents a fresh point of view and questions the wisdom of credit or small loans as the best first step in reaching the very poorest people. Poor rural women prefer to create a financial cushion before they take on the risk of a loan. They can create this cushion by saving.
...At the end of the month, women take their savings and deposit them into a group fund. After a few months enough savings accumulates for the group to begin issuing small loans to members. As groups prove they can manage their fund well, they can borrow more from a bank, a cooperative or a microcredit institution.

Is credit bad? No, fission is not bad either. It's how you manage credit that makes it bad or good. To give loans to an extremely poor or vulnerable person puts that person at risk...

Monday, November 22, 2004

fast company on dell

fast company interview with dell ceo kevin rollins:

FC : Your Austin PC factory has cut the amount of inventory it holds to just five to seven hours, and yet recently you challenged them to slash their order-to-delivery lead-time in half. Why do you set such a high bar?

Rollins: If I asked them to reduce it by 3% or 5%, they'd come back with 3% or 5% improvement. But if I ask them to improve by 50%, they might not hit that number, but they may well come back with 30% improvement. When you give people a massive challenge, you get a massive change in performance.

I was just in Japan, where I talked about kaizen, the Japanese principle of continuous improvement. Usually it refers to very small, incremental improvement. I told the team in Japan, "No, we want big kaizen -- big improvement. Multiples." When you challenge them to achieve multiples, they come back with big changes to get those multiples. That's the watershed mindset.

FC : What does it take to be a hero at Dell?

Rollins: Historically, we had heroes at Dell who would cause their own crisis and fix it. But that's a bad way to run the ship. Heroes have a short half-life here because the issue for us is, "What did you do for me today?" You can't run a company as big as ours by super-human acts. You need to create great business institutions and constantly beat [your numbers.] That requires superhuman planning and design, and an ability to tweak that design constantly. The way you get to be a real hero is to deliver heroic results.
FC : You've certainly set yourself some Wal-Mart-sized goals. Dell is well on its way toward surpassing its goal of $60 billion in revenue within the next few years. Is there a sense that you've arrived?

Rollins: We're not satisfied with the company yet and we don't think we've seen our best days. In the PC marketplace, which represents just 60% of our business, we've only got 19% of the global market. And we only have 3-5% of the entire IT industry budget. We're so small, compared to the total of what we could be. To have any thought that we've arrived is nuts. We look at new opportunities, new portions of the industry and share of existing markets, and conclude that what we've achieved is peanuts. If we double the size of the company we'll have 6% of the IT industry -- still nothing. What about 40% of the industry -- what would that look like? Then people say, "We'd have to quadruple." Well, yeah. Let's quadruple.

on a side note, here's a couple other things i found interesting from the fast company feed:

overcapacity, advertising: "The cost of a 30-second spot on Monday Night Football is now twice as much as it was 10 years ago, in inflation-adjusted dollars. The size of the audience has declined by roughly a third."

career success factors: "What we call 'masculine-identified men,' who really want to play the game, are doing better. So there is some evidence that the stereotypic male, what the feminists would call 'hegemonic males,' are doing well. What's interesting, though, is not all men fit that category and anybody who doesn't is doing less well."

perceptions of religion

waxy quicklinks to a gallup poll on american religious opinions in the context of evolution.

  • 45% of Americans agree that God created man in his present form about 10,000 years ago.

  • 34% of Americans believe that the Bible is the actual word of God and is to be taken literally, word for word

Sunday, November 21, 2004

How do you spell relief...P-E-E!

I was in a men's bathroom relieving myself not to long ago when I began thinking of how there is a certain urinal etiquette. Now, not personally receiving any formal training in this subject, I believe that this must be some innate sense males have; perhaps remnents from our hunter-gatherer era. So, just to inform our reading public, and for the benefit of those whose genes for this innate awareness skipped a generation, this one's for you.

In a typical men's bathroom, say at a highway rest stop or an airport, there is usually a wall of urinals. The more the better, but sometimes there are only three to five, on average. This poses serious potential for an awkward moment.

Now, there's no issue if there's no one else in the bathroom. Choose any urinal you please to drain the vein. But if there is someone already occupying a urinal, much care must be taken in which one you choose. Let us analyze.

Imagine a bathroom in which there are five urinals. You enter and there is a guy juicing his twig and berries. He stands to the far right, leaving four urinals to your disposal. Which do you choose?

Every guy knows the answer to this one - the one to the far left. The idea being one must maintain maximum distance between exposed male phalli. But what of other potential scenarios?

Guy at far right uninal, another guy at far left urinal. You must choose the one in the middle, and look directly at the wall in front of you. And hopefully the guys on the ends angle themselves slightly to the outside. That's just common courtesy.

Now what if there is a guy at the far right, and another guy one in from the left. So these two guys are separated by only two urinals. Pop quiz. What do you do hot shot?

This is dangerous, because no matter where you go, you're directly next to another one-eyed-monster. My solution, if you can tell which guy is finishing up, go next to him. At least you can minimize the exposure time.

Another solution, and this goes for anytime you're faced with having to pee next to another guy, use the stalls. Yes, this is an option, one which would be greatly appreciated by all involved.

And just for the record, one absolute never in my book. If all of the urinals and stalls are occupied, never pee into the sink. That's just inappropriate. You're a guy, you can hold it.

I've said my two-cents, and now if you'll excuse me, I've got to shake the dew off the lilly.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

self configurable robotics

fresh on the heels of near near future pointing to a new scientist article on the ATRON "shape shifting" robot comes a worldchanging post on similar work being done at xerox parc on modular robotics (with demonstration videos).

Modular Reconfigurable Robotics is an approach to building robots for various complex tasks. Instead of designing a new and different mechanical robot for each task, you just build many copies of one simple module. The module can't do much by itself, but when you connect many of them together you get a system that can do complicated things. In fact, a modular robot can even reconfigure itself -- change its shape by moving its modules around -- to meet the demands of different tasks or different working environments.

This project addresses the question "What are the limitations on the number of modules for a useful modular reconfigurable robotic system? " How does the number of modules affect:

• Versatility (different shapes)
• Robustness (self-repair and redundancy)
• Cost (economies of scale?)
Automatic self-reconfiguration allows a robot to radically adapt to changes in the environment. For instance, in this simulation made in 1994, a robot changes three times for three different types of terrain.

i fully expect stephen wolfram to write a book claiming to have invented this in 20 years.

complete criterion collection

i just crapped my pants. waxy quicklinks to a box set of the entire criterion collection (minus the out of print titles).

perhaps the only thing even remotely as hot is granta 1-80.

Friday, November 19, 2004

patient scheduling

the medical informatics weblog just pointed to an interesting article on an adaptive sheduling package for doctor's offices produced by ibm:

It's many patients' pet peeve: Show up on time for a doctor's appointment, then wait well beyond the scheduled time to be seen. Not only is that wasted time for patients, it's inefficient for doctors trying to provide quality time and attention to each patient.

To help make medical scheduling more efficient, IBM and Florida International University said last week they're working together to develop advanced-scheduling software based on autonomic-computing technology. This emerging area aims to give systems "more self management," akin to the human autonomic nervous system, says David Kaminsky, a principal in IBM's autonomic-computing practice who is involved with the Florida International development work.
Determining a more accurate appointment start time is economically significant in hospital environments, says Dr. Niki Pissinou, a Florida International professor and director of its Telecommunication & Information Technology Institute. For instance, an MRI machine can be more efficiently used for patient tests if the scheduling process takes into account usage spikes, types of procedures, and how long a doctor might need to wait for the equipment between patients.

one doctor at the clinic i volunteered at told me that her biggest tech need is with her sheduling software...it will be interesting to see where this goes.

afghanistan & drugs

die puny humans links to a story on opium in afghanistan:

Afghanistan's opium cultivation jumped 64 percent to a record 324,000 acres this year and drug exports now account for more than 60 percent of the economy...

"This year Afghanistan has established a double record -- the highest drug cultivation in the country's history, and the largest in the world,"...

...Ten percent of the population, or 2.3 million people, helped farm it because grinding poverty made it more attractive than other crops.

"Cultivation has spread ... making narcotics the main engine of economic growth and the strongest bond among previously quarrelsome peoples," Costa said. "Valued at $2.8 billion, the opium economy is now equivalent to over 60 percent of Afghanistan's 2003 gross domestic product."

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Grey Album Video

via kelpshimi.:

This was kind of cool. It twas a music video of Encore from the Grey Album. Still haven't heard the Grey Album? Find it here. And if you don't know what the Grey Album is you should quickly locate the nearest proctologist so he/she can surgically remove your head from your ass.

Note: The Bitches at EMI were fuckers and had it taken down again. GOD I HATE YOU.

Update: Waxy has the video now. Link up to it here

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

flash and the url bar as command line

udell gets a solution for his RIA state transparency request:

This weekend [kevin lynch] created an example showing how rich internet applications can display their current state in the URL as the user interacts locally. This enables a user to bookmark a particular state in the local application, and also enables rich internet applications to be composed with others through REST.

sartre cookbook

pba and torless, this is for you: jean-paul sartre's cookbook, via interconnected links:

I have realized that the traditional omelet form (eggs and cheese) is bourgeois. Today I tried making one out of a cigarette, some coffee, and four tiny stones.
Last night I had a dream. In it, I am standing, alone, on a beach. A great storm is raging all about me. It begins to rain. Night falls. I am struck by how small and insignificant I am, how the entire race of Man is but a speck in the eye of God, and I am but a speck of humanity. Suddenly, a red Cadillac convertible pulls up beside me, In it are these two beautiful girls named Jojo and Wendy. I get in and the take me to their mansion in Hollywood and give me a pound of cocaine

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


condaleza rice is the new secretary of state.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

sparklines on espn

it looks like espn is using a sparkline-esque element on their nlf scoreboard page. i wish i would have known about this earlier so i could have gotten screen caps of various games going on simultaneously, but i only got them for tonight's sunday night game.

so here's a pic showing a moment in time in a patriots drive. the arrow begins at their starting field position, and there's a yellow line showing where the first down marker is. perhaps they should incorporate the down and distance into the graphic (somehow) as well, but currently it is done via text.


and then, the sparkline turns red when the team is in the red-zone:


You're under arrest...ca-peesh!

I posted an article a while ago about this, about how the Italian Police were given a Lamborghini to add to their force. This is just kind of a follow up. But more interesting to me is their Chief Inspector, Laura Ciano. Not only do they have a sweet car to drive, but they have hot officers, too. Just don't let her drive.

UPDATE: good god almighty, she is REALLY hot. i commend you in the crease. jhc.:


The answer to all of life's problems...beer.

I am in heaven. This machine is the answer to all my self-esteem problems. After I get this beer machine, I won't have to go out and to get rejected, I can do it from the comforts of my own home.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Things We Already Knew

As it is both a clear and distinct perception that my music is indeed better than yous, I want to show you what music I listen to.* Though I would love to kinap and tie each and every one of you to a chair with sound outputs attached directly to your baslar membrane so that you could hear the best music on the face of the earth, I sadly cannot. Sigh, how I dream of stimulating your phase locking hair foliciles to Cornelius or Neutral Milk Hotel... but alas, the follies of youth...

Thusly, I must show you what part of my 30+ days worth of music I have on my computer that I actually listen to. How, you ask? With Audioscrobbler, oh simpletons music filled internet. It takes note of what I listen to then gives stats on interesting things. Also, for the first 30 days you are able to listen to a personalized radiostation. So, kiddies, DJ I Have No Friends' music is located here.

*For proof see Descartes Meditation 3, where he mistakenly calls the infinite subtance God, where he actually means "my music." It was an error on his behalf when he was writting it in Latin.

i'm calling my bookie

how much do you want to bet that the guy in this bbc article is korean?:

Police say an officer and his dog were bitten by a man resisting arrest in Kansas City.

Officer David Magruder tried to arrest the man, suspected of dodging a cab fare, early on Friday morning.

The man began to punch Mr Magruder, who then released police dog "Soty" from the patrol vehicle using a remote control, a local newspaper reported.

Soty bit the man, who then bit back, according to police, nearly taking off the dog's ear. He also bit Mr Magruder.

the article goes on to say that the man did the officer's dry cleaning while biting the dog a second time.

Friday, November 12, 2004

environment, elections, etc.

an article on john mccain, rebuplicans, and the environment:

...And then, last fall, he managed to force the first real Senate vote on actually doing something about the largest environmental peril our species has yet faced. The bill he drafted with Senator Joe Lieberman was modest to a fault, and it lost 55-43, but at least, 15 years after the issue first surfaced in the public consciousness, there'd been a vote. "We'll be back this year to do it again," he said when I talked with him in Washington earlier this year. "Campaign finance reform took us seven years. This may take longer, but we'll stay at it."
...How did the party of T.R. become so anti-environmental?

Consider, for instance, Senator James Inhofe, the Oklahoma Republican who chairs the Committee on Environment and Public Works. He didn't just vote against McCain-Lieberman -- he took to the floor during the debate over the bill to describe global warming as "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people."
...mostly, says Jim DiPeso, the policy director of Republicans for Environmental Protection, it comes from a kind of worship of the market -- a deep belief that there's never any good to come from interfering with the free operation of laissez-faire economics. "Look at James Inhofe and people like him. They're so bought into the notion that economic prosperity is tied to the consumption of fossil fuels that they simply refuse to let go of it. They can't tolerate any argument that postulates that fossil fuels have downsides, that there are reasons to accelerate the transition to other forms of energy."
If you ask environmentalists who work the Hill about their contacts in the GOP, you get mostly blank stares. Aside from McCain and a handful of others, "we have trouble even getting into a lot of their offices," says Karen Wayland, legislative director for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). "They brand us as extremists despite the fact that the public has been long supportive of environmental regulations. When there's a big environmental vote we might be able to pull 20 Republicans in the House, and that's not a lot, because we lose some conservative Democrats." Debbie Reed, legislative director for the National Environmental Trust, says she thinks a few Republican senators actually believe that global warming is a problem. She cites Idaho's Larry Craig and Kansan Pat Roberts, who visited a National Science Foundation project in Antarctica and saw some of the scientific data firsthand -- but even they couldn't bring themselves to vote for the mild law proposed by McCain and Lieberman. Among other things, she says, they were unwilling to buck the president.
I'd been looking forward to interviewing McCain, who has a reputation among reporters as open and engaging. But our sessions were mostly anticlimactic. He consistently parried any questions about his newfound environmentalism. Instead, over and over again, he kept returning to the same idea: Special interests controlled the debate and, until they were overmatched by public opinion, little progress would be possible. At first I was frustrated -- most of us want to believe that it comes down to something more than the familiar refrain of money in politics, want to believe that minds could be changed by ideas, by rational debate, or by flying congressmen off to see melting glaciers. But the more I thought about it, the more grateful I was for McCain's insistence on the primacy of politics. In the end, only senators know what it's like to be a senator. "If there's one thing that everyone here's an expert on," says McCain, "it's getting elected."

i thought this was good too:

...When [McCain] finally hung up his uniform, he settled in Arizona only because it was the home of his second wife. "All my life I had been rootless," he says. In fact, the turning point in his first run for Congress in 1982 came when an opponent called him a carpet-bagger in one debate. "Listen, pal," he said. "I wish I could have had the luxury, like you, of growing up and living and spending my entire life in a nice place like the first district of Arizona, but I was doing other things. As a matter of fact, when I think about it now, the place I lived longest in my life was Hanoi."

spain mandates solar panels

via worldchanging:

The rain in Spain may fall mostly on the plain, but the photovoltaic panels will soon be just about everywhere: the Spanish government has mandated that solar power be incorporated into all new buildings.

Spain wants to take advantage of its sunshine by making solar panels compulsory in new and renovated buildings — to save fuel costs and to improve the environment. Jose Montilla, the Industry Minister, has announced that from next year, anyone who intends to build a home will be obliged to include solar panels in their plans, with the aim of turning Spain from a straggler to a European leader in the use of renewable energy. ... The Socialist Government, led by José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the Prime Minister, is seeking a tenfold increase in the area of solar panels in use in Spain by the year 2010, from the present total of 581,000 sq metres."

Thursday, November 11, 2004

My stage name is film director Matthew Vaughn

I just wanted to take this moment to thank all of the people for their wishes. Our baby is healthy and the mom is doing just fine. Thanks again.

Ahh, the stress...what was I talking about?

I found this article about how stress makes you forgetful. I think most people already knew this, but now it's scientific! Now only if they could prove that chronic jerking-off makes you irresistible to the ladies.

ultraportable computing

engadget posted about this ultraportable setup that looks seriously kick-ass.


JK added a Bluetooth card to his tiny Sony Vaio U-70 Tablet PC (which is coming to America), allowing him to create the world’s smallest desktop computer, and it’s all wireless to boot, with a Bluetooth Stowaway keyboard, a Bluetake BT500 mouse, and Internet access via his Motorola V710 cellphone. The whole setup weighs a staggering 1.2 pounds, and he reports no Bluetooth speed or interference issues at all while using the keyboard, mouse, and cellphone all at once, which is just the way it should be.

wow. i don't know why, but i think this is even hotter than the oqo. i guess the next thing is to get a heads-up display (like the microoptical model shown below) workable over bluetooth (is there enough bandwidth? how about over one of the wifi flavors?).


while looking into this a bit more, i found a couple sites dedicated to ultraportable computing: ultraportables.net and handtops.com.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

What do you call it?

I just wanted to take a moment and bring this blog back to its roots - juvenile jokes about nothing.

So here is my list of phases to be used when announcing to the world to hold all calls because you're going to deficate.

Gotta drop a deuce.
Gotta drop the kids off at the pool.
Gotta do some valsalva maneuvers.
Gotta pull some V's.
Gotta drop a bomb.
Doing a dirt.
Going to do some thinking.
Need some quiet time.

That's my short list. What's yours? Inquiring minds want to know.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to kill some kittens. More on that phase later.

religion at work

interesting nytmag article on the union of religion and business, via fast company.

the article left me with mixed emotions. at times, i felt that this was a positive thing, at other times, i was creeped out.

The bank opened 18 months ago as a ''Christian financial institution,'' with a Bible buried in the foundation and the words ''In God We Trust'' engraved in the cornerstone. In that time, deposits have jumped from $5 million to more than $75 million. The phone rings; it's a woman from Minneapolis who has $1.5 million in savings and wants to transfer it here. ''I heard about the Christian bank,'' she tells Ripka, ''and I said, 'That's where I want my money.''' Because of people like her, Riverview is one of the fastest growing start-up banks in the state, and if you ask Ripka, who is a vice president, or his boss, the bank president, Duane Kropuenske, whose office wall features a large color print of two businessmen with Christ, or Gloria Oshima, a teller who prays with customers at the drive-up window, all will explain the bank's success in the same way. Jesus Christ has blessed them because they are obedient to his will. Jesus told them to take his word out of the church and bring it to where people interact: the marketplace.
Some friction may come from the insistence of marketplace Christians on seeing offices and factories as arenas for evangelism. Converting others, after all, is what being an evangelical Christian is all about. One tenet listed in the Riverview Community Bank's first annual report is to ''use the bank's Christian principles to expand Christianity.'' If that wasn't clear enough, Ripka put it in even starker terms for me: ''We use the bank as a front to do full-time ministry.''
Praying with customers is one thing Riverview has become known for. Gloria Oshima, a teller, was hired because of her previous experience at the nearby First National Bank of Elk River, but her faith, which she describes as ''bold,'' was also apparent in the job interview. ''When Gloria came applying for a job, I had a vision of her praying with customers,'' Ripka says. Referring to the bank's drive-up window, Oshima says: ''The Holy Spirit speaks to me when certain people drive up. A young lady pulled up one day. I looked at her, and she had tears in her eyes. I said: 'Are you O.K.? Would you mind if I prayed for you?' She said O.K. I said, 'Inside the bank, or right here?' She said, 'This is fine here.' So we prayed. I asked the Lord to remove the hurts within her and bless her day. She came again later, into the lobby this time, and she said, 'I'm doing so good, and I just wanted to thank you for your prayers.'''
I spoke with one employee of the bank, who asked that her name not be used, and she told me that while she had been raised Catholic, she did not consider herself part of the bank's Christian culture. ''You will never find me going into Chuck's office to pray,'' she said. On the other hand, she said that the bank was a ''wonderful'' place to work because ''here the people are all nice -- it's a healthy environment.'' Another employee, a young man who until recently worked at a competing bank, also said that while he hasn't given his soul to Jesus, he liked the wholesome atmosphere of Riverview, and that the only downside was having to put up with his former colleagues teasing him about his bosses making him say his prayers before bed.

there's also some mention of a sort-of free market for religious ideas that is developing:

Looked at in light of some recent trends, there is a certain logic in all of this. First came the withering of the mainline Christian denominations and the proliferation of new, breakaway churches. Then consumerism took hold: today, many serious Christians are transient, switching churches and theologies again and again to suit their changing needs. With traditional institutions fragmenting and many people both hungry for spiritual guidance and spending more time at work than ever, it was perhaps inevitable that the job site would become a kind of new church.

fratocrates applauds you

congratulations are in order for scott evans; not only for landing a new job at laszlo, but also for recently having a baby boy.

technically, he just supplied the necessary fluids, but it is still astounding to see that someone who knows emacs lisp can actually get laid.

it gives us all hope.

CiteULike: A free online service to organize your academic papers

via rklancer's DIU:

CiteULike: A free online service to organize your academic papers

CiteULike is a free online service to organize all the academic papers you find on PubMed, JSTOR, ACM, arxiv, and Ingentconnect. You can get organized by:

* Adding papers to your library from your web browser with just one click
* Using tags to develop an easy and flexible filing system
* Choosing to share your library with others, or to keep it private

it's like DIU but specific to academic papers. perhaps this will start the domain specific fragmentation of DIU often talked about in the mailing list???

btw, are bookmark hierarchies officially dead? are filesystem hierarchies the next to go? i guess we'll find out when spotlight comes out with tiger...

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

WorldChanging: Another World Is Here: The Future of the City, Castells-style

WorldChanging: Another World Is Here: The Future of the City, Castells-style:

"To me, one of the critical insights here is that the global city is not London, New York, Tokyo or Jo'berg -- it is the part of each which is connected to an analagous part in each of the others.

The global city is a distributed phenomenon. There is only one global city, and it floats on top of the others like lace.

Another key understanding is that the physical, the neighborly, the visceral and urban and the virtual, the connected, the digital and networked -- these are symbiants, not competitors."

tv v. responsibility

in another sign that the internet is merging with my brain, worldchanging has a post about big media's lack of foreign coverage a day after anoniffer and i watch manufacturing consent:

...How TV covers international news, then, has an enormous impact on our ability to act as global citizens, to understand and respond clearly to global crises and opportunities.

So it really isn't helping things that TV coverage of international news really sucks.
In particular, former CNN reporter Rebecca MacKinnon (who blogs here), writes a scathing and fascinating exploration of the business-driven decisions which help keep Americans so ignorant of the workings of the world around us:

"If one believes that the role of the American media should be to inform the citizens of a democracy about the realities of major foreign policy problems so that those citizens can make informed judgments about their government's ability to conduct international relations, then one is likely to conclude that we failed to do our job. ...In this essay I was asked to discuss how American global TV media balances the global public good with American national interests. However it is important to understand another, much more important factor that trumps both the global public good and national interest. That factor is commercial interest."

RIA state transparency

interesting post over at udell's:

...The idea that an application wears its state information on its sleeve, readily available for users to bookmark, modify, and trade, is an underappreciated strength of Web-based software. As the RIA bandwagon picks up steam, let's honor that idea and find a way to move it forward.
The web's architecture is compositional. When you expose application state on the URL-line, to the maximum degree possible, users and developers become co-composers.

Flash needs to figure out how to enable this collaboration, fundamentally and pervasively. Likewise DHTML. Likewise Java, .NET, and all the first-generation GUIs.

somewhere, a crack addict is mistakenly smoking a three musketeers bar

via harper's weekly review:

A six-year-old Florida girl took $1,000 worth of crack cocaine to school; her mother said she must have got it trick-or-treating.

as far as i'm conscerned, this is a pretty good excuse. not because of its veracity, but because of its style. i salute you mother of six-year-old florida girl.

Monday, November 08, 2004

sometimes i doubt your commitment to sparkle motion

via the big brother:

life imitating art, art imitating insanity.

CHICAGO (AFP) - Federal aviation officials were searching for an engine that fell off a Boeing 747 cargo plane in mid-flight, possibly over Lake Michigan in the Great Lakes region, officials said.

wake up, donnie.

city planning v. freedom

peter lindberg linked to an interesting discussion between christopher alexander (of pattern language fame) and bruce snider (editor of custom home) entitled 'a dialogue concerning force and freedom'. this is a discussion about balancing 'liberty' and 'correctness,' specifically in the context of city planning but i see it as generic (especially in light of current politics).

here's the preface, where they lay out the city-planning-specific elements of the convo.:

Bruce: I would like to promulgate a better model for putting people on the land, in living communities rather than the fabricated developments that pass for communities these days...

If [Northport, ME] grows by, say, 5,000 people in the coming decades, chances are that growth will take the form of sprawl, with developer subdivisions and strip commercial development along the major roads.

I have a notion of what I would like to see instead...

...However, I do not know how to do it, and I do not know, even, how to communicate the need for it to my fellow townsmen.
There must be some way to steer the town's development so that we end up with a real town--with a town center, real neighborhoods, and so on--rather than the kind of centerless sprawl we see all around the country.

then the convo. gets into the more general ideas about freedom:

Bruce: The issue is difficult to discuss because of the strong local sentiment that ANY kind of regulation is negative. People here have lived their whole lives enjoying freedom...But if we leave things as they are, the future of the town will be determined not by the people who live here but by others who have no stake in the real life of the community.

Chris: ...If you criticize their attitude so strongly, are you not hinting that within yourself, within the freedom-loving Bruce, there rules a secret rod of iron, in the form of a disciplinarian who is going to tell people what they may and may not do...

...Perhaps you are indeed (as they fear) one of those people who wants to force something down their throats. And their freedom-loving instinct tells them that something about your desire to help is dangerous and unsavory.

Bruce: Well, you may have just nailed me as a closet totalitarian. Still, I can't help but believe that if the town rejects planning of any kind then we make ourselves vulnerable to a future none of us would choose....

Chris: ...I just do not believe that this is a truthful picture of human beings, nor of your own feelings about your own life. You don't want people to tell you what to do either. You feel OK saying all this stuff mainly because you feel so deeply that the beautiful world you know is likely to be destroyed -- and also, perhaps, because you see yourself as one of the people who is going to do the telling, not one of the people who is going to be at the receiving end of the telling.
To solve this problem, I think that one must propose a very clear legal distinction between what a private landowner (an owner-occupier) can do on his own land, and what a (by definition absentee) developer can do...
In Stafford county, Virginia, there is an experimental new zone currently under discussion, which is a developer-free zone -- or a user-design zone -- giving enormous freedoms and rights to people who do things for themselves, but very little freedom to developers who look to make money essentially by pillage.

they go on to talk about the real meat of the solution: educating the populace on patterns and then democratically applying them, but i will spare you uninterested fools the details. it would be interesting to see if this works with regards to town/city planning, and then perhaps this technique can migrate to more pressing matters -- such as corporate reform.


Via Shrek 2 Soundtrack:

I need some sleep

Sigh, how i miss when the eels made music that i liked. The day of Electro-Shock Blues supposedly will return again for the next album. only time will tell. This song at least is much better than their last work. Let's just hope they stick with thist kind of stuff.

victory: the sweet nectar of the gods

as the pittsburgh steeler's win streak continues to grow, so does the girth of my penis.

the picture below shows hines ward (the greatest carbon based lifeform of all time) saying "get the fuck off me," as he jaunts leisurely into the endzone.


afterwards, he shares a cup of tea with the queen mother. popular conversation topics include: "please pass the cream my dear," and "dick lebeau is a god amongst men."


in case you were not watching the game (most likely because you are a terrorist), the stillers bludgeoned the iggles. i wouldn't say that it became non-fun to watch, but it was borderline disturbing -- morbidly interesting perhaps. in the crease and i found ourselves debating how many players aaron smith will concuss before the season is over.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

more tufte porn

the nyt's is getting so tufte-ian that i've been stricken with a permenant erection.

jon udell not only points out some graphical goodness, but he also animates some of the voting pattern transitions over time. great stuff.


and here's a little flash app that the times put up to show the margins of victory in counties during the 2004 election. if nothing else -- and i'm only half joking --, this shows that the best way to combat religious fanaticism in the middle east is economical and educational empowerment combined with shifting the populace to an urban environment.


Friday, November 05, 2004

saving the world, one nerd at a time

judith meskill over at the social software weblog points to this interesting post on reappropriating IT/KM skills for more tangible goals:

...I explained that almost everyone I knew in senior positions in KM was brighter and more inventive than their peers, and had self-selected or been hand-picked by management to lead their organizations' KM programs for that reason. There was a belief in the dot-com '90s that knowledge was the critical strategic asset of business, and the gateway to innovation. KM was going to make a difference, and allow people enamoured with creativity and change to lead that change.

A decade later, most people left in KM are disillusioned. The culture of big business has shifted sharply back right, and cost reduction, not innovation, is Job One. There has not been much to show for all that promise and creative ambition...
...If KM people are the most creative in the company, IT people are the sharpest analytical thinkers. They have a passion for their craft, and are the world's best collaborators, but they rarely have the opportunity or the budget to do more than a minuscule portion of what they know could be done, and which could bring real value to the organization...The only pleasure most IT people I know get from their jobs is working with wonderful, sympathetic IT colleagues. And perhaps they also get cold comfort knowing they're part of the minority in IT who aren't unemployed or working at McDonalds or Wal-Mart since the dot-com bust. Most of them tell me they do their best work outside the office, outside of working hours, online collaborating and conversing with people who appreciate what they can do.

That's fun, and intellectually rewarding, but, let's face it, it doesn't really accomplish much. Although IT people can create wonderful software, quickly, effectively, to accomplish almost any information processing need, it's all really just a hobby. It rarely makes the world a better place...All the social software tools, blogs, and cleverly coded programs that have been and are being developed are just a recreational drug for us, a tiny minority of the population bored with the inanity of our 9-5 jobs. It's largely a hobby destined to be no more significant in historical terms than ham radio, CBing, or scrapbooking...

Stack those modest benefits up against the crises facing our world today: Poverty, violence and war, disease, inequality, crime, famine, overpopulation, pollution, waste, cruelty to children and to animals, addiction, mental illness, corporatism, lack of access to and poor quality of health care and education, fraud, political corruption, stress, oil shortages, water shortages, spousal abuse, consumerism, tyranny, ignorance, hate-mongering, social disintegration, abuse of power. There may well be answers to many of these problems, but they're not going to come from IT tools developed and used by a small minority separated from the rest of the planet by a vast and growing digital divide. In fact, no one is looking for solutions to these problems. The few people that care about these problems are busy treating their symptoms, mostly as volunteers, and have neither the time nor the resources to address the underlying causes.

Here's my point: For restless and dissatisfied IT people, unlike their KM counterparts, there is an alternative, a career path that could really make a difference: Science-Based Enterprises. Your bright, disciplined analytical minds are desperately needed to develop practical new technologies that can solve the global problems of our world.
If you're really interested in making a difference through scientific and technological development, you're going to have to become an entrepreneur.

MSNBC - Man tries to convert lions to Jesus, gets bitten

via eyebeam: MSNBC - Man tries to convert lions to Jesus, gets bitten

i need to fine tune my marketing campaign:

TAIPEI, Taiwan - A man leaped into a lion’s den at the Taipei Zoo on Wednesday to try to convert the king of beasts to Christianity, but was bitten in the leg for his efforts.

“Jesus will save you!” shouted the 46-year-old man at two African lions lounging under a tree a few meters away.


talent, intelligence, success, and management

malcolm gladwell -- who is quickly becoming the darling of the blogosphere -- has an interesting article on the cult surrounding talent in the sixth volume of changethis.

One possibility is simply to hire and reward the smartest people. But the link between, say, I.Q. and job performance is distinctly underwhelming. On a scale where 0.1 or below means virtually no correlation and 0.7 or above implies a strong correlation (your height, for example, has a 0.7 correlation with your parents' height), the correlation between I.Q. and occupational success is between 0.2 and 0.3. "What I.Q. doesnt pick up is effectiveness at common-sense sorts of things, especially working with people," Richard Wagner, a psychologist at Florida State University, says. "In terms of how we evaluate schooling, everything is about working by yourself. If you work with someone else, it's called cheating. Once you get out in the real world, everything you do involves working with other people."
Kitchinʼs qualification for running EnronOnline, it should be pointed out, was not that she was good at it. It was that she wanted to do it, and Enron was a place where stars did whatever they wanted. “Fluid movement is absolutely necessary in our company. And the type of people we hire enforces that,” Skilling told the team from McKinsey. “Not only does this system help the excitement level for each manager, it shapes Enronʼs business in the direction that its managers find most exciting.” Here is Skilling again: “If lots of [employees] are flocking to a new business unit, thatʼs a good sign that the opportunity is a good one…If a business unit canʼt attract people very easily, thatʼs a good sign that itʼs a business Enron shouldnʼt be in.” You might expect a C.E.O. to say that if a business unit canʼt attract customers very easily thatʼs a good sign itʼs a business the company shouldnʼt be in. A companyʼs business is supposed to be shaped in the direction that its managers find most profitable. But at Enron the needs of the customers and the shareholders were secondary to the needs of its stars.
The distinction between the Greedy Corporation and the Narcissistic Corporation matters, because the way we conceive our attainments helps determine how we behave. Carol Dweck, a psychologist at Columbia University, has found that people generally hold one of two fairly firm beliefs about their intelligence: they consider it either a fixed trait or something that is malleable and can be developed over time. Five years ago, Dweck did a study at the University of Hong Kong, where all classes are conducted in English. She and her colleagues approached a large group of social-sciences students, told them their English-proficiency scores, and asked them if they wanted to take a course to improve their language skills. One would expect all those who scored poorly to sign up for the remedial course. The University of Hong Kong is a demanding institution, and it is hard to do well in the social sciences without strong English skills.

Curiously, however, only the ones who believed in malleable intelligence expressed interest in the class. The students who believed that their intelligence was a fixed trait were so concerned about appearing to be deficient that they preferred to stay home. “Students who hold a fixed view of their intelligence care so much about looking smart that they act dumb,” Dweck writes, “for what could be dumber than giving up a chance to learn something that is essential for your own success?”

In a similar experiment, Dweck gave a class of preadolescent students a test filled with challenging problems. After they were finished, one group was praised for its effort and another group was praised for its intelligence. Those praised for their intelligence were reluctant to tackle difficult tasks, and their performance on subsequent tests soon began to suffer. Then Dweck asked the children to write a letter to students at another school, describing their experience in the study. She discovered something remarkable: forty per cent of those students who were praised for their intelligence lied about how they had scored on the test, adjusting their grade upward. They werenʼt naturally deceptive people, and they werenʼt any less intelligent or self-confident than anyone else. They simply did what people do when they are immersed in an environment that celebrates them solely for their innate “talent.” They begin to define themselves by that description, and when times get tough and that self-image is threatened they have difficulty with the consequences. They will not take the remedial course. They will not stand up to investors and the public and admit that they were wrong. Theyʼd sooner lie.
...The talent myth assumes that people make organizations smart. More often than not, itʼs the other way around.

There is ample evidence of this principle among Americaʼs most successful companies. Southwest Airlines hires very few M.B.A.s, pays its managers modestly, and gives raises according to seniority, not “rank and yank.” Yet it is by far the most successful of all United States airlines, because it has created a vastly more efficient organization than its competitors have. ...

In the case of the giant retailer Wal-Mart, one of the most critical periods in its history came in 1976, when Sam Walton “unretired,” pushing out his handpicked successor, Ron Mayer. Mayer was just over forty. He was ambitious. He was charismatic. He was, in the words of one Walton biographer, “the boy-genius financial officer.” But Walton was convinced that Mayer was, as people at McKinsey would say, “differentiating and affirming” in the corporate suite, in defiance of Wal-Martʼs inclusive culture. Mayer left, and Wal-Mart survived. After all, Wal-Mart is an organization, not an all-star team.

Procter & Gamble doesnʼt have a star system, either. How could it? Would the top M.B.A. graduates of Harvard and Stanford move to Cincinnati to work on detergent when they could make three times as much reinventing the world in Houston? ... But Procter & Gamble has dominated the consumer-products field for close to a century, because it has a carefully conceived managerial system, and a rigorous marketing methodology that has allowed it to win battles for brands like Crest and Tide decade after decade.

interesting stuff, especially the data on motivational difference between students, but ultimately, i think he paints too stark of a picture. did the enron management style reward the wrong things? yeah, probably, but i don't think that you can import an old-school management style into a dynamically innovative business entity and expect things to work out. (but, you know, not all businesses are dynamically innovative -- there are only so many ways to make and sell soap.)

Thursday, November 04, 2004

family vals

article on divorce rates in northeast v. bible belt, via grahamazon:

The state with the lowest divorce rate in the nation is Massachusetts. At latest count it had a divorce rate of 2.4 per 1,000 population, while the rate for Texas was 4.1.

But don't take the US government's word for it. Take a look at the findings from the George Barna Research Group. George Barna, a born-again Christian whose company is in Ventura, Calif., found that Massachusetts does indeed have the lowest divorce rate among all 50 states. More disturbing was the finding that born-again Christians have among the highest divorce rates.

The Associated Press, using data supplied by the US Census Bureau, found that the highest divorce rates are to be found in the Bible Belt. The AP report stated that "the divorce rates in these conservative states are roughly 50 percent above the national average of 4.2 per thousand people." The 10 Southern states with some of the highest divorce rates were Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas. By comparison nine states in the Northeast were among those with the lowest divorce rates: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

almost done moping

perhaps it's a good thing, you know? a kick in the ass.
(granted, normally you aren't kicked in the ass for 8 consecutive years)

i ask myself, "where do we go from here?", and i didn't really have an answer.

as a former programmer, i did the obvious -- i fired up emacs, M-x doctor, and here are the results:

I am the psychotherapist. Please, describe your problems. Each time
you are finished talking, type RET twice.

where do we go from here?

Why do you say where do you go from there?

shut the fuck up.

Are you afraid of sex?

so emacs turned out to be useless. next up was bloglines, which worked out a bit better.

from the christian science monitor:

"With the presidency, Senate, and House appearing to move conservative, the states have become more important as centers for progressive change, helping to mitigate conservative federal mandates," says Kristina Wilfore, executive director the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center in Washington. "Tuesday's initiative results showed the importance of activists at the local level in overcoming huge odds to achieve things that are appealing to voters in their own communities."

The same held true in Colorado with the success of the renewable energy initiative, requiring that state utilities provide 10 percent of their energy for consumers from alternative sources, such as wind and solar power by 2015.

and itconversations had a great 4 part series on connected politics from pop!tech 04. the final q&a session was really good, and joe trippi had some excellent anecdotes about the dean campaign and the future of grass-roots politics.

so all is not lost. and if worst comes to worst, we can always swear allegiance to general zod, who has powers beyond reason on our little planet houston.



am i on an episode of fear factor or something?

you know what?
i was going to complain
or talk about
drastic measures, like canada
(which apparently, isn't as
as generations of hippies would have you believe)

but i say "fuck it"

fuck this shit.
i'm just going to fall in line
and start masturbating to
katherine harris


like i said,
fuck this shit.
i just don't even care
no shame in my proverbial


i'm just following orders


Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Eyebeam reBlog: The wake up duvet

genius: Eyebeam reBlog: The wake up duvet:

"The 'Light Sleeper Duvet', by Loop.ph, is an illuminating alarm integrated into your bedding that wakes you up by slowly glowing brighter and brighter over a 15 to 20-minute period, mimicking the slow creep of ambient sunlight at dawn.

The system uses electroluminescent technology allowing textile surfaces to become a reactive light source."

now if they could just invent a duvet that would take care of my morning wood.

Monday, November 01, 2004

news flash: canada looking better by the day

election shenanigans causing massive blunt force trauma to my dome.

In his phone message to voters, Schilling says, "These past couple of weeks, Sox fans ... trusted me when it was my turn on the mound. Now you can trust me on this: President Bush is the right leader for our country," according to a transcript from the Bush campaign.

Kerry spokesman David Wade reminded baseball-crazed voters that when George W. Bush was owner of the Texas Rangers he voted against creation of the wild card. The Red Sox qualified for the playoffs through the wild card.

"When legions of Sox fans go to the polls on Tuesday, they'll remember that if George Bush had his way the Red Sox wouldn't have ever won the World Series," Wade said in a statement.

For good measure, Wade also reminds voters that Bush traded Sammy Sosa, the Chicago Cubs' home run king.

kind reader(s??): if you consider voting based on baseball events and/or recommendations, please kill yourself(ves??) immediately. not only because voting in such a fashion would be monumentally stupid, but also because baseball sucks. baseball sucks so much that it is actually too shitty for french canada. little known fact...but true.

that being said, i will vote as hines ward -- the greatest carbon based life-form of all time -- directs me to vote.