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Showing posts from May, 2005

And the award for best rant of the week goes to...

... Orson Scott Card. Just to set this up properly, Card (if you don't know), is an excellent, award-winning writer. He is also a devout Mormon and has never been ashamed of sticking up for what is usually the butt of jokes other Christian sects make amoungst themselves (*hand up* guilty).

That said--wow. This is a rant, but only as Card could write it. I'll hit the points, but these leave out way too much of his essay.

The courts have given the news media carte blanche, in the name of the First Amendment -- but the media are no better than government at exercising unchecked power (emphasis his)
Too many people in the "American" media have lost any concept of loyalty to their country.
I mean, what kind of idiot breaks a hole in the hull of his boat during a storm, just because he doesn't like the guy at the tiller and thinks the storm could have been avoided?
Muslims in Muslim countries can dish it out, but they can't take it.
Seeing Kingdom of Heaven this week, …

Booking online has a darkside

Like we didn't know that. But this guy had one hell of a good time getting back at Orbitz.

I've never had anything quite that bad, but I won't use Priceline ever again. We booked a hotel in Grand Rapids a while back (little work/mini vacation). Yeah, note to Priceline, Walker Avenue is NOT downtown Grand Rapids. Sorry, it may be a small town, but that's like calling Livonia downtown Detroit.

Christopher Hitchens - Why I'm Rooting Against the Religious Right

Thanks to (once again), David Galbraith for the tip to this article.

A large tranche of the once-secular liberal left has disqualified itself by making excuses for jihad and treating Osama bin Laden as if he were advocating liberation theology. The need of the hour is for some senior members of the party of Lincoln to disown and condemn the creeping and creepy movement to impose orthodoxy on a free and pluralist and secular Republic.

I don't know much of Christopher Hitchens' work; I think I need to brush up. Great Op-Ed.

Link

Michigan Court of Appeals Returns to 1950s in Free Speech Ruling

Damn this state. No, you know what, damn this whole bloody mess. I officially give up.

Backtrack.

The Michigan Court of Appeals (which I believe is in Grand Rapids, since this ruling references Calder Plaza) ruled today that, well, read this:

The Michigan Court of Appeals has declared that nudity on television, even during the safe harbor period, is a violation of Michigan law prohibiting indecent exposure and such laws do not violate the First Amendment.

That's right, the State can now ban nudity anywhere, anytime, for any reason and it does not violate the First Amendment. (That quote above doesn't get into the meat of the ruling, whose language is vague enough to cover all forms of artwork.) Read the whole article linked at the end; it'll make you sick.

Couple that with the draconian announcement by Michigan Liquor Control Commission Chairwoman Nida Samona that, since they got bitch-slapped by the Supreme Court, they'll now work to ban ALL shipments of alcohol in the sta…

Just so I have this straight

When CNN et al read blogs on the air, they're jumping on the bandwagon, airing the thoughts of people who took more time then did the news channels to make thoughtful posts about newsworthy topics. (See the much lauded Daily Show segment, thanks to Lisa Rein.)

But, when Adam Curry does the same thing with podcasters' content, he's spreading the word about podcasting. They're even calling him the podfather? Please. I gave up on podcasts because it misses the entire point of aggregating content... it doesn't scale. I can't listen to more than two or three podcasts in a day--no matter how many feeds I stick in iPodder--because I can't extend the time I have in a day to timeshift in content. Are there great podcasts? Sure, just as there are great internet radio stations. But I can't listen to all of them either.

Court Strikes Down Ban on Wine Shipments

Finally! This was one of the stupiest (and dirty) laws Michigan had with regard to liquor sales. You can now order wine from anywhere in the country and have it shipped to Michigan.

The supporters are using the "for the children" defense, which is total crap considering that the state is pretty interested in the millions in tax revenue. Of course, if you set up a reciprocal distributership with a Michigan-licensed distrbutor, you were all set to ship into the state. So, not only did the state get tax revenue, distrbutors could price fix wine prices before the product ever crossed the state line. Nice setup.

Now I can finally order a decent kosher sparkling wine. Mmmmm.. Bartenura.

Link

Change or Die

This article is especially relevant to my current work, but it is also an important reminder that humans, across the board, are creatures of habit.

[John Kotter, a Harvard Business School professor] has hit on a crucial insight. "Behavior change happens mostly by speaking to people's feelings," he says. "This is true even in organizations that are very focused on analysis and quantitative measurement, even among people who think of themselves as smart in an MBA sense. In highly successful change efforts, people find ways to help others see the problems or solutions in ways that influence emotions, not just thought."

This article is a little light on the science, but it's a brilliantly written piece for its audience... business executives. Buy in at the C-level is so vital to the success of change management, it often a deciding factor. I can think of, oh, around 20 C-level people I've worked with who need to read this. Strike that. I know 20 C-level peopl…

SpotScents, the scent projector

I know the technology is cool, but damn it, I don't want this to be available to movie makers. Considering what Lucas did to the Star Wards franchise, it could now potentially smell like actually shit.
SpotScents, developed by Yasuyuki Yanagida at the Media Information Science Laboratories in Japan, uses scent projectors to deliver localized odors to a human's nose through the air without requiring users to wear any special devices.

Link

Kwame and Krispy Kreme

I am SO glad I didn't take a job in Detroit. Kilpatrick, no stranger to the dumber side of politics, has decided to ask voters to approve a 2% tax on "fast food". You might say, "Good! And about time. Detroit is too fat" and you'd be right... if the money was going to help solve that problem. But it's not. It's going straight into the city coffers in an effort to prop up the free-falling budget.

Yep, Kwame's big plan is to tax, well, he doesn't know where to draw the line.
But what about American Coney Island, a downtown establishment that has table service despite its simple and speedy fare? What about Starbucks or the corner deli? The administration says it is still working on a definition.
Oh good.. So that will depend entirely on how greedy the city decides to be. Because it's way to hard for someone to drive outside the city limits for McDonald's.

This idea is so idiotic, it boggles the mind. Not only are there no criteria defined…

Tech roundup

Posting has been light, for that I apologize. Between work and the house thing, it's been crazy.

Apparently people are starting to figure out that Google is a company and not some benevolent lord of the manor/Web. (Read this article for a brilliant flame.) Their Web Accelerator (a term scoffed at when offered by the likes of AOL) is set to wreak havoc with webapps and shared machines, "clicking" all links on a page and leaving previous users logged in.

The FCC got bitch-slapped by a US Appeals Court, striking down the Broadcast Flag requirement for digital broadcasts. Next up, Congressionally-mandated, Constitution-ignoring powers for the FCC.

And, while not really technology news, can someone suggest a Windows alternative to the Automator program in OS X? A co-worker just got a new G4 (I think) and, while bubbly and new, the only thing I envy is this little app.

How a Lightsaber Works

Sadly, HowStuffWorks was probably deluged by nerds correcting their article on how lightsabers work.

Have you ever wondered how these remarkable weapons work? Where does the energy come from, and how are they able to contain that energy in a rod-like column of glowing power?

In this edition of HowStuffWorks, you will have a chance to look inside a lightsaber and discover the source of its incredible characteristics. Let's get started!

Funny stuff.

By using the Force, the wielder can anticipate the path of the blaster bolt and align the blade with that path prior to the bolt's arrival. Using normal visual tracking to accomplish the same effect can be far more difficult.

Howstuffworks "How Lightsabers Work"

Mark of the beast is... 616?

I always knew, growing up, that something about West Michigan wasn't right. Now I know just what it was.

A newly discovered fragment of the oldest surviving copy of the New Testament indicates that, as far as the Antichrist goes, theologians, scholars, heavy metal groups, and television evangelists have got the wrong number. Instead of 666, it's actually the far less ominous 616.

616 is the area code for much of West Michigan. If, in fact, the biblacal text should read 616 instead of 666, it would be irony at the loftiest of levels.

Link