Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Crushing of Dissent. Well, at least in Canada

In case you haven't been following Canadian politics (where?),
the Liberal Party continues its strategy of using the courts to try to prevent criticism.

The most interesting failure in this was surely the most recent Canadian election.

Initially, the Liberal Party used legal maneuvering to prohibit Canadians news outlets from publishing any news about a massive corruption scandal and trial.

Unfortunately for them, the scandal was then investigated and published in detail by Ed Morrissey, on his (American) blog, Captain's Quarters, which was beyond their reach.

Canadians began using the internet, too.

The government fell and the Liberals lost the subsequent election.

Since then, the Liberals haven't stopped. The Canadian courts continue to be cooperative in suppressing dissent, but at least one site is up, here.

The piece of information you may be missing is that a leading Liberal politician, Joe Volpe, recently got $27,000 in campaign donations from the children of current and former drug company executives. We're not talking adults here, either -- $5,400 apiece (the legal maximum) from 11-year olds. Volpe argued that there's nothing in the law preventing this, then sued to have the site above shut down.

Free Books from Google

Download the classics, and any other book Sonny Bono didn't prohibit. I got Hamlet, babe.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Light humor

Your sense of humor may vary.

These turn out to be my Uncle Roger's, and mine. I have no idea why. I think the inspirational posters are from Despair, Inc.

Fonts is a large, free-font repository (6932 fonts and counting).

My question is, "Why aren't there fixed-width fonts with variable-thickness letters?"

Fixed-width fonts, in case you didn't follow Rathergate, and never looked at CBS's forged, Bush Air National Guard documents, are fonts that you can use for programming: the letters line up under one another, as they do on a typewriter.

What you get in print, or out of word processors, is called "proportionally spaced" fonts -- fonts where a line of 50 m's is wider than a line of 50 l's.

Typewriter fonts are ugly. Some of this is proportional spacing. Some of it is that the characters themselves have fixed line width.

To see what I'm talking about, look at the difference between the left and right vertical bars on this letter: M.

The letter 'M' above also has serifs -- little things that stick out of the basic letter shape, like the horizontal feet on both those verticals -- but there are sans-serif fonts that also have variable-width letters. The best-known is probably Hermann Zapf's "Optima."

Variable line-width is also why fountain pens with broad nibs make your writing look nicer: as you move the pen in different directions, the letter line-width changes.

So, when is someone going to make a monospaced font that has variable line width -- something easier on the eyes?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Ceci, ce n'est pas une pipe

The treachery of images persists in Belgium.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Only In Boulder

Dum-dum-dum really dumb.

Thanks to Drunkablog for this one.

Icon Story

What icons do when you're asleep.

HT: Uncle Roger.

Theramin Therapy

My brother-in-law, Tim, built a theramin. The cats hate it. For Tim, or anyone else who doesn't hate theramins, here are 14 Movies From Two Ages Of Theremin Music.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Jeff Goldstein Tries Out Some More, Interesting Personalities

The comma is obligatory. If you don't know Jeff's work see, for example, here.

I'm certainly hoping to see him in person, tonight, at the Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash.

Be there, or be square. Robin Roberts, who will be there, tells me that in my case this is not an "exclusive or."

Jeff Goldstein Tries Out Some More, Interesting Personalities

The comma is obligatory. If you don't know Jeff's work see, for example, here.

I'm certainly hoping to see him in person, tonight, at the Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash.

Be there, or be square. Robin Roberts, who will be there, tells me that in my case this is not an "exclusive or."

Lifelong Whatever

In Power Line: Maynard Ferguson, RIP, Seth Leibsohn says,
"Sadly, I could never play like he could and out of frustration, hung it all up (the way I'm told some golf players give up when they are unable to play the way the great ones they try to emulate play). "
I have friends who gave up music after getting Masters' degrees because they were unable to achieve the expectations they'd built up for themselves.

Me, I'm not all that talented or skilled, and I really never practice, but I play at a jam every week, I perform regularly, and I really am a better musician than I was a year ago, or five, or twenty.

For me music is a joy and I make other people happy doing it. For my friends, it's a disappointing part of their lives that they've left behind.

I'm as achievement oriented as the next guy, but when I give music workshops, I tell attendees just to do it as a social activity -- not to worry about being great.

I think the key is playing, and one key to playing is doing it as an excuse to hang out with other folks.

Maybe I'm wrong, but it's still working for me.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

AllPeers Works

At the Caffe Sole tonight, while at Hacking Society, Jeremy and I tried out AllPeers.

We shared jpegs, pdfs, and web pages with no trouble at all. Basically, it seems to work as advertised. The most annoying feature is that it changes your Firefox throbber, and there's no way to disconnect it without killing and restarting the browser.

"Speed Will Turn You Into Your Parents"

Lightning_rose shows us how. Nice graphics, too.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Foreign Service Language Materials!

FSI Language Courses free, here. Both the text and the tapes, as MP3: Chinese, French, German, Greek, Portuguese, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish, and Turkish.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Only Important War

When people say, "The only important war is the war against the Bush administration" they're usually talking about the Left's position on the War on Terror.

Turns out that it also applies to the war on AIDS. The important thing is screaming about Chimpy McBushitler, no matter how many people you help kill.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

ah ... ah ... aaah ...


Web-art blogging

Another nice web-art site: Amateur Illustrator

Behaving Irrationally?

This article, describing a mutiny as passengers refuse to fly says the passengers were "behaving irrationally."

Read it. They were behaving extremely rationally. And civily, for that matter. No muss, no fuss.

The passengers were responding to a government's refusal to "profile": a political-correctness-and-lawyer-driven insistence that, although all terrorists are young-to-middle-aged Muslim males, this piece of information must be given no weight in security measures.

Sorry. It's their lives.

Note, too, the end of the title: "... until Asians are removed." Perhaps the reporter thinks that they made all the elderly Chinese women hobble off.

Ape Skin

Lawrence Berkeley Lab's policy for login names was "initial of first-name followed by last name." My ex-wife's was "apeskin."

Here's a list with that theme: the top 10 unintentionally worst company URLs.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

How to knock balls around

This one's for Lyn. Interesting site for other stuff, too.

Fighting the Last War

In the middle of a breast-beating article about the suicide of photojournalism during the Hezbollah War, the author makes this point:
"I would even love to see special inserts or mini-documentaries on how to spot photo bias or photo fakery—in other words, be as transparent, unarrogant, and responsive as you expect those you cover to be."
Many have asked why we can't get war reporting from the MSM, instead of body counts.

Where are the educational sidebars on the difference between a .45-caliber automatic and a .50-caliber machine gun? Between a brigade and a company? Between a howitzer and a bayonet?

We're in a war. These, sadly, are no longer things you can take for granted voters know.

In all these cases, it's looking like it's the newspapermen, not the generals, who have spent too much time preparing for the last war.

Google Desktop pe Româneşte

Google Desktop 4 is now out.

It's still Microsoft-only, but I have friends who will want a Romanian version.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Jon Benet

Like Lightningrose, I'm surprised.

Some days are like that. I have more to say about it, but not this nanosecond.

The Word Detective

Like language?

See this, from Jo, and this from Kevin.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Drawing lessons

My father, Alan Haemer, was, at various times, a professional artist, an Air Force colonel, and a University of Oregon art professor.

During all those times, he was a good guy. (Except, of course, when I was a teenager.) I miss him.

I wonder what he'd think of these web-based drawing lessons.

Beating on the Tin Drummer

You can win a war against a movement or a government, but the same people are still there afterwards.

Gunter Grass changed party affiliations from the Nazis to the German Social-Democratic party, and went from being in the Waffen-SS to opposing the end of Communist East Germany.

The Nazis were, after all, the National Socialist German Workers' Party, and it's hardly surprising that a German totalitarian teenager turned into a German totalitarian adult.

I did, however, think the part about Gertrude Stein's having campaigned to get Hitler a Nobel Peace Prize was interesting.

La plus ça change ...


Reutersgate goes gold.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Fauxtography vs. Art

This Aussie cartoon, from "through a glass, darkly"
reminds us that while any Reuters stringer
can do fauxtography, it takes talent to draw a good cartoon.

When I'm Calling You, oo-oo-oooo, oo-oo-oooo.

Perhaps it's Slim Whitman.

Ballooning into the Sky

Hobbies can be uplifting.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Orgasm or Excellent Marinara?

What's interesting about this slide show isn't that it's hard to tell: it's that it's easy.

Beautiful Agony makes the point in a different way.

Charles Darwin, who spent decades thinking about how to reason about biology when you can't do experiments in the lab, published a book in 1872, called The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, showing that biology hard-wires emotional expression even in humans.

He points out, for example, that even people blind from birth smile when they're happy.

He identifies several distinct expressions with specific emotions, and even provides photographs. "Orgasm" is not one of them, but Darwin was a Victorian. It's clear, from looking at Beautiful Agony, that this expression is clearly identifiable.

My sister, Jo, tells a story about a photo exhibit, where people were suggesting titles for an as-yet untitled face shot.
Most suggestions were things like "Ecstasy" and "Orgasm."

"Ecstasy, maybe," said Jo, "but that's not what people look like when they're having an orgasm. It's what they wish they looked like. They actually look like Joe Cocker."

She is exactly right. Go back and look at the slide show, and you'll also see which stars are faking it.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

"Haemer" at number 13, with a bullet

Amazing what Technorati will turn up for you.

Here are the Top 100 Singles in Germany.

See lucky 13. When you're hot, you're hot.

Net neutrality. Or something.

Words fail me.

HT: Barb Dijker.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Turing tests

An inspired Turing test. HT: Wheels


A wiki just for cars?

They don't yet have an entry for my 242-DL. Bummer. As Jeff, from Swedish Motors, said this morning, "To the moon, Alice."