Thursday, June 29, 2006

One, two, ... three

Google video brings you the first grown-up cartoons.

Edward Everett Horton. Hans Conried, William Conrad.

On-line invoices

Blinksale looks like another, good, webtop app.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Despair, Inc.

Despair, Inc. is now podcasting and vcasting. You can subscribe via iTunes.

I'm ... Words fail me.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


The Size Of Our World, courtesy of Rich Laver.

And yet, as E.O. Wilson points out, if you scoop up a teaspoon of dirt, from your garden, there's infinitely more life in it than in all the other bodies on the page pointed at by the link, above, combined.


A fairness experiment

Letter-to-the-editor bait and the apparently warm response it generated, here.

The response seems odd, but wait: what if it's a form letter? Maybe everyone who writes gets that encouragement. (You could criticize such a policy, but I might do the same in their shoes.)

We can speculate, and accuse or excuse, but why not do an easy experiment to test the hypothesis? I've sent them email with the same Subject: line, and the same general topic. The content was vacuous and the tone, noncommittal.

Let's just see what sort of response it generates.


Well, over 24 hours and no response. Not looking good for the Times.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Don't do that, Dolores!

Looks like efforts to persuade Keller and Lichtblau not to publish the secret financial monitoring program details weren't even narrow.

And there was another NYT publication of secret stuff today -- this time, troop withdrawal plans.

One question is "Can the NYT continue to do whatever it wants, convinced there will never be consequences?" Is the price of prosecuting them for breaking the law more than the gain? Like suing the National Enquirer, do they get more from the PR than they lose?

Another question is, "Why didn't the Justice Department simply tell them, 'Publish this, go to prison' ?"

Prior restraint isn't, as a lot of attorneys have pointed out, an issue. They're not prevented from publishing, they're merely being made aware of consequences.

Teachers and parents know the difference between, "I'll physically hold you back from doing it," and "Don't do it or I'll put you in time out."

Unfortunately, ignoring misbehavior sometimes doesn't work. Then, either you do the latter decisively or you have a problem. "Don't do that" becomes meaningless or you end up stuck doing the former.

The analogy with immigration policy is not too strained. We have laws. We don't enforce them. What happens when we don't? What should we do now that we've ignored the problem and it's just gotten worse? Repeal immigration laws? Impose some draconian punishment on illegals?

No one, including the NYT, seems to be arguing that what they've done is actually legal. And the NYT isn't even apologetic, so there's no reason to think they'll stop.

So now what? A "guest leaker" policy?

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Desperate for Friends?

Are you desperate for friends?

I don't think I am. On the other hand, there are things that are important to me that I don't really feel I can talk to people about.

So, do I have very close friends? Yeah. Do I suffer alone? Yeah, too. Is this new? I'm not convinced.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Take 2 ruionvui each jkuirq and jklvjklf

Making Hillary proud.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Global warming

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal noted that ABC News was looking for stories from people whose lives have "been directly affected by global warming."

(I haven't studied the arguments here, but this is like having ABC News look for stories from people whose lives have "been directly affected by black cats walking in front of them." Sorry. Petitio principii is neither good science nor good journalism.)

Still, Jeff Beliveau's response is useful:
" Tharg and me used to hunt mighty mammoth but he scared to cross ice bridge. It now too thin to take weight of even saber cat. Only mouse or rabbit can cross.

Many of my people have left the caves in search of food.

Sister's daughter's husband says it because of He-Who-Tamed-Fire. He say smoke from fire anger gods and they make it hot. Medicine Man say he full of mastodon droppings.

Medicine Man say Sun God told him Sun God get belly ache every 200 lifes of man. Belly ache make Sun God hotter, like when Og ate red berries birds don't touch.

Sun God say it good thing. He say now we can go south past ice to land he call 'Iowa.'

He mumble 'junk science' and 'media hype' and 'poorly educated reporters.' We no understand these powerful magic words. We afraid to say words now that Moon God warn us. She say magic words make research grants dry up. We no understand.

Must go, little Ky-Rock need help flaking obsidian.

What's My Line?

The TV show, had panelists guess the occupation of the guests. A banjo playing friend, whose day job is taking pictures of cattle, would have been a good contestant.

And how long do you think it would take to guess "Cartoonist for the Federal Reserve Board?"

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Troop strength

While politicians busily try to get their names in the news, introducing resolutions about troop deployment and withdrawal, here's the actual, current, working plan.

U.S. troop numbers are down 17% from their peak, last year, and expect to be under 100,000 by the end of this year.

Pop quiz: in 1990, 45 years after the end of WWII, how many troops did we have stationed in West Germany?

Answer: 250,000. Plus, oh yeah, their families. My sister, Jo, was born there in 1952 -- just half a dozen years after a war with them in which fifty million people died.

The area of West Germany? 250,000 sq. km. America still had one man stationed there for every square kilometer. In 1990.

The area of Iraq? Nearly twice that.

Okay, you didn't know those things, but do you think the posturing legislators don't? It is, let's face it, their job to know that national defense/government/history/geography stuff.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Elasticity of demand -: "THE GLENN AND HELEN SHOW has been downloaded over 10 million times now. If we got just a dollar per download. . . ."
they would have made about ten bucks.

(I have listened to every episode. Is price a factor? You want the one word answer, or the two word answer?)

At a mil a download -- if we could buy them with Green Stamps -- ten million downloads is still ten thousand bucks. But "free" is really good marketing. Ask Linus Torvalds.

More laws with unintended consequences

Mark Steyn and Power Line dudes are both using nude bicycle rides as political similes.

Here's Steyn:

What a bleak comment on the bitter divisions in our society that even so all-American a tradition as nude bicycling down Main Street should now be so nakedly partisan. It's as if the republic itself is now divided into a red buttock and a blue buttock permanently cleaved by the bicycle seat of war.

He gets my applause for the writing, the rest of which is worth reading, too, but there's substance here that he may not know about until he spends more time drinking beer with naked bicycle riders.

It's local urban legend that naked fun is illegal, but naked protests aren't. To go skinny dipping in a mountain pool, you now rip off your clothes, yell, "No blood for oil!" and jump in. It's the new "Geronimo!"

But is this cry a ghost shirt? I doubt anyone who does it really knows.

"This will keep us from getting arrested, knock on wood."

Want less of the rote, boring, politicization of public life? Pass fewer laws against having fun.

Happy Birthday to You

Paul McCartney wrote When I'm 64 at age 16.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Head north - go 1 ft.

Let's see, I want to go from DIA to Basalt. Let's try Google Maps.

Dirka, Dirka, Mohammed Jihad

Like the Danish Mohammed cartoons, the easiest resolution to this faked-up controversy is for people to actually see the material

I won't even bother to talk about it -- watching it pretty much makes all clear.

What it also makes clear is that it's not just funny, it's a good song. I particularly like the rhyme "I couldn't say no/Because I don't speak Arabic, so/".

Warning: like any good tune, it's now stuck in my head and I've been humming it.

In case you miss the reference, the words "Dirka, dirka, Mohammed jihad/Sherpa sherpa a-bakala" are from Team America, World Police.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Me, I like foreign languages

Still, I think the tips you find here are useful for other stuff, too.

Groceries from Amazon

Recently, a local outfit, Aspen Grove Market, has taken a shot at being a web-based grocery store. They've been offering good deals on shipping, as an introductory offer, and I can give delivery in a 1-hour window. Unfortunately, they've had some technical problems, but they're working hard on them.

Meanwhile, however, I can now buy non-perishible groceries from Plus, since I'm an Amazon Prime member, shipping's free.

Groceries from Amazon

Recently, a local outfit, Aspen Grove Market, has taken a shot at being a web-based grocery store. They've been offering good deals on shipping, as an introductory offer, and I can give delivery in a 1-hour window. Unfortunately, they've had some technical problems, but they're working hard on them.

Meanwhile, however, I can now buy non-perishible groceries from Plus, since I'm an Amazon Prime member, shipping's free.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Twyla: RIP

kevin’s journal » Nimby Twyla - 1999-03-18 to 2006-06-13

Monday, June 12, 2006


Mash-ups, like this one, combine a few different pieces of technology to make more than the sum of the parts.

Duke it out

Can you imagine an art cage-match like this?

SketchUp for Macs

At last!

Also, if you're a Ruby fan, it comes with a Ruby API and tutorial for SketchUp.

Please Remove My Nonsensical Asian Tattoo

St. Paul's "Acme Tattoo" has a close relationship with a local Chinese restaurant, where they send people who bring in their own Chinese-language tattoos that they want put on.

They tell the story of a woman who came in wanting an immediate coverup of a tattoo she'd gotten elsewhere. She designed it herself, by choosing a pair of words in her Chinese dictionary. Giggling waitresses from her local Chinese restaurant explained that it meant "Slut."

Saturday, June 10, 2006

It's a been a little rough here so far, but ...

Iowahawk hosts an unexpected guest columnist who comes to the right conclusion.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

What A Wonderful Way to Start the Day

Aaah. That feels better.

Google, again

Goodness, Google's busy.

Right here, you can find a (free) Firefox extension from Google that has nothing to do with Google. Think about that.

And, it promises to be useful: it lets you keep all your Firefox bookmarks (and other stuff) across machines. No need to re-set-up your bookmarks on another machine, just use this extension.

I just set my sister, Jo, up with Firefox, and it's probably now just customized enough that she'll be ready to want this.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Red-Neck Pick-up Line

StateMaster - Statistics >Nice tooth.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Oval BA

I never thought of BA as oval. Live and learn.

What's in a name?

How can you not like a site called Hillbilly Housewife?

Monday, June 05, 2006

Better than black panthers

Brother-in-law, Tim, who tattoos, says when you see a black-panther tattoo, it's typically a cover-up for an earlier, bad tattoo, or an ex-girlfriend's name. It's dermatoglyphic white-out.

Once this technology matures, breaking up won't be as hard to do.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Hurricane Katrina

You may have noticed that Popular Mechanics is stepping into a niche abandoned by newspapers: reporting.

If you're interested in Hurricane Katrina, here's the latest Popular Mechanics report on the topic.

Useful links to earlier Katrina reporting at the bottom, too.

McGyver Tips

McGyver tips, for brother-in-law, Tim.

From a link on Lifehacker.

The computer tips, so far, are, "Duh," so I suspect the others are, too, but since the others are in fields I know nothing about, they're cool.