Sunday, November 30, 2003

Stuck Truck of the month. People watch SUV commercials and believe that their trucks can go through flooded streams, up boulder-strewn mountain faces, and over giant tree stumps. Shoulda stuck to the burbs, Nancy-boy! Watch as really bad stuff happens to high-ridin' Luxo-guzzlers.

"Some friends of mine went camping down on Big Piney Creek over the weekend and this is what happened. Around 1:00 AM Chris' truck slipped off into the creek and became completely submerged. Josh tryed to pull him out and ended up submerging the back half of his Jeep Wrangler and flooding the engine. " - a nonprofit media lab
How to Build a Computerized Android Robot Head for $600.00.

I can add nothing to this explanation.
NYTimes Magazine Design 2003 Special
Studs Terkel: 91 and going strong. (Salon)

Saturday, November 29, 2003

The Trailer for the Flaming Lips film "Christmas on Mars" is as strange a trailer as I've ever seen. Is that Steve from Blues Clues? I know he can do anything he wants to do, but if he calls that acting, he needs to sit down in his thinking chair and think, think, thiiiinnnnnk.

Even if you're not interested in the Lipses filmed work, they still have their "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots" complete online for listen. Its a great site.
Detroit cops seek info on abandoned couple
The Christmas season is officially upon us, and if you're anything like me you're wondering where to get your hands on one of those shrunken human heads that appear on wish-lists so often these days. This article will help you distinguish the fakes from the real McCoy.

What's most disturbing is that the items that article considers "fake" are actually real human heads. Picture some hipster holding your shrivelled head some day, sneering "obviously a fake... I'm supposed to believe he actually wore that nosering?"
Another article on the Jivaro practice.

Counterfeit heads prepared by someone other than the Jivaro Indians are usually, much more skillfully prepared through the use of superior equipment, than the actual work of the Jivaros.
Cover-ups: Unseen cars (photo), from our pals at Things
Rolling Stone magazine posts its Top 500 of ALL TIME list. Does anyone else think these guys are kinda dull? 500 albums and not a single surprise on the list? Is popular music that dead? There are even plenty of "greatest hits", which breaks the only rule that top-album lists should have. Sucks.

Friday, November 28, 2003

She Loves You: Beatles Girls.
"Lots of people have made maps of their tunnels."
If you have tunnels, and havn't made maps of them, you're out of your mind.
(from a site dedicated to exploring university steam tunnels) UrbanAdventure has more

Here's the Magic Kingdom's tunnels. Infiltration lives for this stuff. Urbanlens does too, with a strong photography bent. Jinx magazine likes any kind of covert exploration. There's also a webring.

National Geographic has a nice 3d diagram of what you can expect to find under NYC.
The Conceptlab Simulator. This is probably really old, but I'm just getting around to it...
"Slot car amazing shots": photos of slot cars in action. These don't look anything like the dull plasticky slot-cars I had. (from gmt+9)

Thursday, November 27, 2003

"Bass Player Crank Call" (RealAudio) (from Aquarius (.org?)) (courtesy of
When you put a sign on the freeway people will read it until someone takes it down.
Depending on its size, content and placement it can be seen by hundreds of thousands of people.
The Greatest Albums that never were. Many are jokey. Some are pretty good. Most aren't. Some are horrible.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Free is dedicated to the happy 60's folk-pop band of the same name. Their first two albums have been reissued.
The mean average of every Playboy centerfold, by decade
from Jason Salavon, who works in photo-manipulation and digital art.
His "homes for sale" by region is also worth seeing.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Lessons from Oregon's open source bill.
On March 5, Oregon became the first state in U.S. history to formally
consider legislation relating to government acquisition of Open Source
software. Within two weeks a similar bill was introduced into the Texas
state legislature. Microsoft-funded lobbyists descended in swarms upon both
capitols to destroy the proposals. Anyone interested in working for Open
Source-related legislation elsewhere would do well to study what happened.
Paying using subdermal implants. Scary.
Bobby Kennedy Jr. on the Bush-sanctioned rape of our environment (Salon)
This is a must-read.


"Three of my sons have asthma and I watch them struggle to
breathe on bad air days. And it's just scandalous to me that these
polluters can give millions to Bush and suddenly all these environmental
regulations are thrown out the window. These guys in Washington are selling
huge chunks of America's natural resources, they have our government up for
sale to the highest bidder, and they're getting away with it scot-free."

I mean, look at George W. Bush -- he knows nothing about any issue. He
doesn't seem to have a single complex thought in his head or shred of
curiosity. I mean, he claims he doesn't even watch the news or read
newspapers. But people find something kind of charming and trustworthy
about his manner -- and that's all they need.

I would say what the fundamentalists call "dominion theology" is a
Christian heresy. These are people who read the Bible in a certain way, to
justify corporate domination of the planet, the same way people used to
read the Bible to justify slavery.

Dominion Christians believe that the Apocalypse is coming soon, the planet
was put here for us to exploit, to liquidate for cash, and we have a duty
to do that -- even if we destroy nature in the process. Reagan's EPA chief
James Watt was a radical dominion fundamentalist -- he believed it was
sinful for us to protect the earth for future generations.

The industrialist who first recognized the potential for organzing these
right-wing fanatics into a political movement was Joseph Coors, who was
Colorado's biggest polluter. Coors engineered a pact between polluting
industries and this marginalized, paranoid element that has existed
throughout America's political history. This was in the 1980s, around the
same time that world communism was falling apart, and so the right wing
needed a new bugaboo. If you read Pat Roberts' book "New World Order," the
evolution is clearly outlined; he says the new communists are the
environmentalists. He calls them "watermelons" -- green on the outside, but
red on the inside. And he makes the same association that the John Birch
Society did -- that because Earth Day happened to fall on Lenin's birthday,
this was evidence that environmentalists were the new secret spies of the
new world order, as communism disappeared.

Robertson interprets American politics through the lens of his apocalyptic
theology. He calls environmentalists "the minions of Satan," who are trying
to turn America -- which is the New Jerusalem -- over to the philistines of
the earth who seek to dominate us through internationalism and the U.N.

Does this radical fringe actually have influence within the Bush

Absolutely. Many of Bush's key appointments come out of this far-right
fringe and the industries that fund them. [Interior Secretary] Gale Norton
was Watts' successor at Mountain States Legal Foundation. Steven Griles, an
energy industry lobbyist who is now Norton's deputy, also came right out of
Watts' shop, and now he's busy doing all these terrible things -- giving
away our parks, punishing scientists who tell the truth. The administration
is full of these people, like Andrew Card, Condoleezza Rice, Spencer
Abraham -- they come out of the auto or oil industries, the militantly
anti-environmental wing of industry.
Awww, say it aint so, Rhinestone Cowboy!
The DUI and knee to the groin aside, Glen Campbell's got no business in a candy-ass BMW.
Who's your party's sugar-daddy? Bankrolling by Soros (D-Richguy) vs. Rev. Moon (R-Richguy) (found on Metafilter)

Typical wacko, knuckledragger Republican thinking from the Moon column:
Calls the Holocaust payback for killing Christ: "Jewish people, you have to repent. Jesus was the King of Israel. Through the principle of indemnity Hitler killed six million Jews. That is why."

Arent those right-wing fundamentalist idealogues a hoot? The next thing you know they'll be bashing Bush for drawing spiritual comparisons between Islam and Christianity...
[Design] Honda shows the hot-rod matte primer finish look with the as-far-as-you-can-get-from-hot-rod Scion.
Why the Democrats are all boxed in (Time Online)

Monday, November 24, 2003
I've heard Michael Jackson speak, and he sure as hell didn't write the spin on this page.
Ray Kurzweil on inventing, creativity, and poetry (NYTimes). Here's the free poetry generating software he talks about.

The stifling stuffy
Catholic schoolroom,
where I cannot be real.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Ween interview. Nice comments on the state of rock music.
The FBI is collecting data on antiwar demonstrations, analyzing tactics and training.

Friday, November 21, 2003

If you've been following the Diebold voting machine scandal, you know how they've released production code so bad that it allows people to vote multiple times. Diebold has been trying to squash people who have been posting leaked internal memos exposing their inept software by serving them with DMCA letters. To the rescue comes Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio), who has posted the memos on the House of Representatives website . Let's see Diebold try to tear them down now...

Kudos to Congressman Kucinich for blowing the covers off of Diebold's shady schemes, and for going the extra step of working for measures that will prevent this type of behaviour in the future.

Congressman Kucinich is working to address these problems by providing some of Diebold’s internal memos on this site to increase public access, drafting legislation to address software security problems, and working to investigate Diebold’s legal abuses.

New Legislation
Congressman Kucinich is working with his Congressional colleagues to draft legislation that would create an open-source design process for voting machine software. This process would ensure public oversight and transparency, as well as establish the most secure voting software for citizens to cast their votes.

Its no surprise that the corrupt Diebold Corporation is a Republican controlled company, and that Republicans are making no noise about this issue, but rather trying to cover for Diebold.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

The Pew Report on the effect of spam on the internet has been released, and the findings are pretty grim. I personally delete upwards of 200 a day. Admit it- have you, or has anyone you've known actually bought anything advertised via spam? Who are the market for these people?

25% of email users say the ever-increasing volume of spam has reduced their overall use of email; 60% of that group says spam has reduced their email use in a big way.
52% of email users say spam has made them less trusting of email in general.
70% of email users say spam has made being online unpleasant or annoying.
30% of email users are concerned that their filtering devices may block incoming email.
23% of email users are concerned that their emails to others may be blocked by filtering devices.
75% of email users are bothered that they can’t stop the flow of spam.
80% of email users are bothered by deceptive or dishonest content of spam.
76% of email users are bothered by offensive or obscene content of spam.
Even Richard Perle says the war is illegal.
Sweet. Family Guy, the funniest show on TV might get re-aired.
New species of whale found.
Bush's physical and ideological "bubble" (NYTimes)
The bubble in London is just an extension of the bubble the Bush team lives in at home. It superimposes its reality on the evidence for war, the ease of the occupation, the strength of the insurgency and the continuing threat from Saddam and Osama.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

[If you do one thing today, make it this!]
H.R. 6, the so-called "energy bill," is an almost indescribably evil piece of legislation. The 1700 page bill has evolved over a couple of years, but the details were worked out recently in relative secrecy. Here are a few points about the bill from

* It tramples on states' abilities to protect their coasts from harmful oil and gas exploration by weakening their voice about federal projects that affect their coasts.
* The bill repeals the main law that protects consumers from energy market manipulation and fraud: the Public Utility Holding Company Act.
* It encourages nuclear proliferation, by reversing a long-standing U.S. policy against reprocessing waste from commercial nuclear reactors and against using plutonium to generate energy from commercial use.
* It dramatically increases air pollution and global warming with huge new incentives for burning coal, oil and gas. [Over $23 billion in tax breaks.]
* It would increase dependence on foreign oil by adding loopholes that weaken fuel economy laws.
* It threatens drinking water sources by exempting from the Safe Drinking Water Act the underground injection of diesel fuel and other chemicals during oil and gas development.

Contact your state senators and ask them to join in a filibuster of this vile Bush Administration assault on our air, soil, and water.

(Note: Thanks to Green Delaware for spreading the word on this. These guys are a model of state-level environmental activism. I don't even live in Delaware, but I read their stuff regularly.)
Finally (fed up with the .Net fiasco?), someone asks straight, hard questions about what HP thinks its doing with its vacuous Adaptive Enterprise (ugh.) "platform".

Spoiler: HP's marketing jabberhead gives all of the usual useless squawk, and it doesn't really mean anything.
Q: Is outsourcing part of AE?
A: It can be, but it is not the only play we're running. First we sit down and ask about the business strategy to set some boundaries for us.

"play we're running"? Who says that? Who talks like that? Does HP send these guys to idiot camp? Here's another reeking burst of cliche'-infested veepspeak:

Adaptive Enterprise defines an entity where a company will be able to dynamically readjust to changes that affect its business.
Finalists for the design of the 911 Memorial in NYC have been unveiled [NYTimes article] [Slideshow of the finalists]

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

This is what American business does: In a thoroughly idiotic move, both from economic and PR standpoints, railroad giant CSX simultaneously cut 1000 jobs and bought $1,000,000 worth of superbowl tickets.
"I can understand those that might have difficult time reconciling these two different decisions," he said. "However we have to make decisions based on the long-term future of the company and make decisions fairly and thoughtfully."
[They blinded me with pseudoscience!] The Bush administration is jettisoning real scientists in favor of yes-men

Monday, November 17, 2003

epaints has an interesting alternative to buying posters of paintings by your favorite artists. For around a hundred bucks, get an artist to copy it in hand-painted oil. I couldn't find any reference on the site to who was knocking these off, or where they were being done.
Gore Vidal on the Bush administration, including more comparisons to Adolf Hitler.

But mostly we find the sort of corruption Franklin predicted. Ours is a totally corrupt society. The presidency is for sale. Whoever raises the most money to buy TV time will probably be the next president. This is corruption on a major scale.

Enron was an eye-opener to naive lovers of modern capitalism. Our accounting brotherhood, in its entirety, turned out to be corrupt, on the take. With the government absolutely colluding with them and not giving a damn.

Bush’s friend, old Kenny Lay, is still at large and could just as well start some new company tomorrow. If he hasn’t already. No one is punished for squandering the people’s money and their pension funds and for wrecking the economy.

So the corruption predicted by Franklin bears its terrible fruit. No one wants to do anything about it. It’s not even a campaign issue. Once you have a business community that is so corrupt in a society whose business is business, then what you have is, indeed, despotism. It is the sort of authoritarian rule that the Bush people have given us. The USA PATRIOT Act is as despotic as anything Hitler came up with — even using much of the same language. In one of my earlier books, Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, I show how the language used by the Clinton people to frighten Americans into going after terrorists like Timothy McVeigh — how their rights were going to be suspended only for a brief time — was precisely the language used by Hitler after the Reichstag fire.
Margaret Thatcher fans and scholars take note: Her papers have been released online at
Demand is huge.
Lady Thatcher's archive is now the most accessible of any modern politician, it is claimed. People have been logging on to view handwritten documents such as the notes she made for St Francis' prayer "Where there is discord....", delivered at the steps of 10 Downing Street on her electoral victory in 1979. There are also declassified Falklands War documents and memoirs, as well as letters between her and former US president Ronald Reagan, and handwritten notes on how to deal with Sir Edward Heath.
Your viroscope for today: Beware email from paypal
When a person opens the e-mail attachment, a window appears bearing the PayPal logo and asking for credit card information. The virus stores any information provided by the victim in a file called “ppinfo.sys” and the file is sent to four e-mail addresses stored in the program

Friday, November 14, 2003 is a well-designed site that has very detailed information on vintage hardware, like this Heathkit H89.
The Carbon Dust Beetle Illustration gallery @ Cornell U.
(courtesy of Coudal, who also pointed me to this killer gallery of bobo watches)
It looks like the old bastion of DIY music web distribution,, has had a fire sale and CNET is picking up "some" of the assets (whatever the hell that means). The upshot is that the millions of artist-published works (good, bad, and ugly) are going to get deleted from's servers. story here.
Another take on the bizarre pairing from theregister.

CNET will follow Wal-Mart, Real Inc. and Apple Computer into the DRM business, infecting as many computers as they can with restrictive software controls that close what for a brief period has been an open computer platform. They all hope that this tentative business model, the terms of which are set by the entertainment "industry", will somehow turn them a profit. Or at least give the illusion of doing so, until a better idea comes along.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Bruce Herschenson's poster site has a great image archive of vintage movie poster scans.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

The FCC is planning a huge givaway to huge networks while ignoring public interest
Now they oppose the FCC requiring new public interest obligations as part of the digital give-away.2 As for broadcasters being in financial harm, the four companies controlling the major broadcast networks generated more than $23 billion in 2002, with TV industry revenues almost $34 billion.3 With this impending FCC decision, the broadcast networks and station groups would also receive a new form of “digital retransmission consent” that would bring them billions of dollars worth of additional cable channels as well.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Meet me at Joey Ramone Place
Fighting the new face of fascism: George Soros puts up 15.5 million to get rid of Bush
"America, under Bush, is a danger to the world," Soros said. Then he smiled: "And I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is."
Soros believes that a "supremacist ideology" guides this White House. He hears echoes in its rhetoric of his childhood in occupied Hungary. "When I hear Bush say, 'You're either with us or against us,' it reminds me of the Germans." It conjures up memories, he said, of Nazi slogans on the walls, Der Feind Hort mit ("The enemy is listening"). "My experiences under Nazi and Soviet rule have sensitized me," he said in a soft Hungarian accent.
[Walmart Spies on its customers] The Chicago Sun-Times uncovered a secret study undertaken by Walmart on its customers without their consent. Walmart embedded smart chips in lipstick products which were tracable when the customers left the stores.
Walmart lied and said that it would not be testing the technology on consumers.

The Sun-Times learned of the trial from a disgruntled Procter & Gamble executive and also from the firm that designed the "smart shelf" system. Researchers concealed "readers" in contact paper placed under the shelves and embedded RFID antenna chips in Lipfinity packaging.

Monday, November 10, 2003

The transcription of Al Gore's speech on Freedom and Security that aired on CSPAN Sunday 2pm that nicely captures the essence of Bush's all-out assault on individual freedoms and common sense.

I want to challenge the Bush Administration’s implicit assumption that we have to give up many of our traditional freedoms in order to be safe from terrorists.
Because it is simply not true.
In fact, in my opinion, it makes no more sense to launch an assault on our civil liberties as the best way to get at terrorists than it did to launch an invasion of Iraq as the best way to get at Osama Bin Laden.
In both cases, the Administration has attacked the wrong target.
In both cases they have recklessly put our country in grave and unnecessary danger, while avoiding and neglecting obvious and much more important challenges that would actually help to protect the country.
In both cases, the administration has fostered false impressions and misled the nation with superficial, emotional and manipulative presentations that are not worthy of American Democracy.
In both cases they have exploited public fears for partisan political gain and postured themselves as bold defenders of our country while actually weakening not strengthening America.
In both cases, they have used unprecedented secrecy and deception in order to avoid accountability to the Congress, the Courts, the press and the people.
Indeed, this Administration has turned the fundamental presumption of our democracy on its head. A government of and for the people is supposed to be generally open to public scrutiny by the people -- while the private information of the people themselves should be routinely protected from government intrusion.
But instead, this Administration is seeking to conduct its work in secret even as it demands broad unfettered access to personal information about American citizens. Under the rubric of protecting national security, they have obtained new powers to gather information from citizens and to keep it secret. Yet at the same time they themselves refuse to disclose information that is highly relevant to the war against terrorism.

Friday, November 07, 2003

According to the SF Chronicle, your personal financial data is headed overseas as credit agencies begin international outsourcing efforts.
Privacy advocates say the outsourcing of files that include Social Security numbers and complete credit histories could lead to a surge in identity theft because U.S. laws cannot be enforced overseas.
Toxic Immunity [Mother Jones]
Faced with a hazardous-waste crisis, the Pentagon is pushing hard to exempt itself from the nation's environmental laws.
Beach Boys fan has created his own production of the band's legendary "Smile" album using scraps and outtakes he gathered from the sessions. The whole album is available for download in mp3 format.

In May of 1966, the world was presented with a Beach Boys that had seemingly abandoned its old image of surf and cars. Like Rubber Soul was for the Beatles, this was the Beach Boys' first "heavy" album. And it probably jarred the group (barring Brian) more than anyone else. Such a question may have been rolling through the collective consciousness of the others: How does one bare their soul (i.e. sing those lyrics) for an audience who had up to this point took you for a stalwart individual with the looks of a clean-cut astronaut?

But Brian Wilson didn't concern himself with such a question, this much we know for sure. Undeterred by accusations of writing "ego music", Brian willingly stepped through The Looking-Glass in May of 1966 and returned sometime in the late-spring of 1967.
More commentary on George W. Bush's dismal failure at economic policy and how his ignorance and poor judgement will likely harm generations to come. (The Economist)

Thursday, November 06, 2003

So it finally turns out that the Iraqis tried to avert a war as troops amassed on their borders, but so intent was the illegitimate Bush administration on murdering innocent civilians to profit their oil cronies that the Iraqi pleas were ignored. (NYTimes)

"Iraqi officials, including the chief of the Iraqi Intelligence Service, had told the businessman that they wanted Washington to know that Iraq no longer had weapons of mass destruction, and they offered to allow American troops and experts to conduct a search. The businessman said in an interview that the Iraqis also offered to hand over a man accused of being involved in the World Trade Center bombing in 1993 who was being held in Baghdad. At one point, he said, the Iraqis pledged to hold elections."

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

A really nice Onion WDYT today.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Great page full of Wire images and photos.
If you're heading out for dinner in NYC, you can go even further than checking with the critics - you can see what the State Board of Health has to say.
Just click the map, see if they've been cited for any really nasty violations, and venture onward if you still have an appetite after reading.
How's that for a liberal media? Under pressure from Republicans and conservative groups, CBS cancels Reagan miniseries.
Since when did networks become such right-wing appologists that they have to cover for Reagan's lying, corrupt, Ketchup-as-a-vegatable, Republican administration?
Old article, but interesting. Richard Forman studies remoteness, and its affect on transportation and habitat.
The Clinton administration placed a ban on new logging roads in some national forests, and the Forest Service wants to close some roads on federal land. There are good economic reasons for closing some of these roads. "More important," Forman insists, "are ecological reasons. Human access must be limited if these key places and their inhabitants are to survive."

Monday, November 03, 2003

Philly Catholic Schoolgirls:1 - Flasher: 0
"The girls came and started kicking him and punching him, so I wasn't going to stop them," neighbor Robert Lemons told The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The jailed Russian head of a Russian oil corporation has resigned this weekend due to the tax and fraud crimes of which he has been accused.
You've got to respect the justice system in Russia that gets guys like this off the street, while over here criminal Bush administration political cronies like Ken Lay are still free, and still very wealthy.
If you didn't already think that spammers were the lowest form of life in the universe, this should do it. They launched a huge virus this weekend to attack anti-spam organizations. Their primary target is , and the site isn't responding, so apparently the spammers' DDOS attack is working.
The Farber Gravestone Collection is an unusual resource containing over 13,500 images documenting the sculpture on more than 9,000 gravestones, most of which were made prior to 1800, in the Northeastern part of the United States.