31 January 2005

Love the Wookie

With Star Wars: The Final Payoff set to hit the movie theatres this year, it's time to geek out and get your costume ready.

Sorry, I know you don't have a costume. But, you were thinking about it. However, you're unable to make that leap and actually, you know, make a costume. Have no fear, my space epic-loving, slightly off-kilter, friend. Rebelscum has your opening-night, identity-obscuring needs covered. Whether for just you or your family, attend the latest chapter of George Lucas' continuing cash stockpiling in style.

The Ultimate Boot CD

This could come in handy someday.

UBCD for Windows

28 January 2005

Inside the Monkeysphere

I'm not sure how to file this one; either it's brilliant or bonkers. Either way, it's an enjoyable read and something where you occasionally catch yourself going "hmmm". Of course, then you look behind you to make sure no one in your office sees you on a web page with pictures of monkeys, but that shouldn't distract from the message.

Later, a far more cynical man sat the monkeys down and said, "you want bananas? Each of you go get your own. I'm taking a nap." That man, of course, was German philosopher Hans Capitalism.

As long as everybody gets their own bananas and shares with the few in their Monkeysphere, the system will thrive even though nobody is even trying to make the system thrive. This is perhaps how Ayn Rand would have put it, had she not been such a hateful bitch.


Brilliant.

The Law of Monkey

Want to know why Detroit (and this country's economy) is dying?

Read this article and find out. Unions are becoming so irrelevant, they openly flaunt their ability to screw over the companies which their members work for. This type of behavior is not helping anyone. And, I guarentee, anyone who thinks that this story will happen much longer is an idiot.

Congratulations, UAW, you just earned yourself another layoff and more jobs going offshore. When you wonder why, make sure to re-read this article.

10,000 idle autoworkers pocketing $1.3 billion

Dinner possibility - The Jerk Pit

I may have to track this place down... my mouth is watering just reading the menu.

The Jamaican Jerk Pit Restaurant

27 January 2005

Don't know much but 'bout this, but...

FDR Social Security Quote

Rest in Peace - Michael Van Dyke

Just got off the phone with my brother about the passing of someone we used to know quite well. He wasn't someone we'd seen in a while, but he was a friend none the less. I haven't seen him since I left town, but I always hoped the best for him. 26 years old, dead of a heart attack.



My condolences to his family and friends. Mike was one of the most unique people I can think of. Rest in peace.



Link to obituary

The Michigan Daily - freakin' wow

I just don't even know where to start with this one.

Someone named, and I'm not making this up, Joel Hoard, Oh Yeah? has written an op/ed piece in the Record that is so unbelievably disconnected from any point, it's painful to read. His politics aside (and he's merely the latest cog in the Record's agenda wheel), his argument about the "debate" (a term even I'll use lightly) between Creationists and the scientific community is, uh, lacking.

In fact, he succumbs to the same thing of which he (rightly) criticizes those promoting Intelligent Design; he has a conclusion already drawn and he's writing from that perspective. I'll give him a minor pass because it's an op/ed, of a sort, and that's a frequent technique for these things. My criticism is more concerned with the unstated and unaddressed conclusions.

He raises the issue that creationists use the excuse that there are missing links in the evolutionary record. His rebuttal basically amounts to "Yeah, duh". Wow, what a convincing argument. I'd never thought about it from the perspective that, as a non-biologist versed in evolutionary theory, I would know that. To quote from his article, I should call everyone in my Creationist camp with "Oh shit, dude. Turns out Darwin was right."

You know what, I was going to point-by-point this op-ed, but I don't have the time or energy. I'll boil it down to one, fundamental problem. Mr. Hoard, you're blind to your own faults in this discussion. I know you're probably a really good student, get lots of accolades from your profs and all that. Hell, you might even be published. I didn't Google you so forgive my uncaring attitude to your potential literati status. But damn, man, you accuse the other side of "trying to dictate the personal lives of free-thinking adults", when really, at the core of your argument, you're doing the same thing.

You're telling people who, whatever your view of the world, have decided and believe that something or someone had a hand in making this world. I know it's really hard for you to step down and wallow with the common man, but like it or not, a majority of this country believe in a god of some kind, be it Allah, Jesus, or just Creator. You're telling them, no, you're accusing them of not only stupidity, but insinuating that if they don't subscribe to your worldview, they are ignorant morons deserving of the world's ridicule. That's a very progressive, enlightened, rational attitude.

For a long time, the world over, a whole hell of a lot of people have considered the act of creating the universe a pretty big deal. If I had to ask you one question, it would be the only one you don't seem to have an answer to: Is nothing sacred anymore?

Taking Intelligent Design out of the discussion for second, evolution actual doesn't contradict a creationist worldview. Science needs to learn something that religious people (who aren't all on the Right, by the way) learned well a long time ago: you don't get to have it all at once. Evolution as a theory is a solid scientific cornerstone, to that there is usually no doubt. What the many in the scientific community, and you, miss is that you immediately jump from "creatures evolve" to "there is no God". As someone who understands evolution, try applying the same evolutionary patience to convincing someone of your views.

The Michigan Daily - Joel Hoard: The evolution of creationism

Stop the bulldozers! Don't destroy Frieze!

I really don't care if the U builds a dorm at the Frieze site, but this letter to the editor in the Ann Arbor News is just too funny to pass up. After making three reasonable arguments, mostly surrounding the historical nature of the building, Susan Wineberg blows us away with that crescendo point number 4.

It's not something tangible, it's something so emotional that only... "Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Ani DiFranco" can tell us what it means.

A fourth reason is the emotional impact on the community. Many graduates have a visceral attachment to this building and demolishing it destroys memories and our link to the past, which Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Ani DiFranco notes "reinforce our humanity."


There must be a ton of graduates who have lost their memories because the University has probably demolished more than it's share of buildings in the 188 years it's been around. Maybe students should have visceral attachments to something besides the buildings.

It's not like they need a new dorm. Oh, wait...

Link

Cool shirts!

Like Think Geek, but with less stuff. Cool T-shirts include the Ubergeek Einstein tee, the Wack Apple knock-off tee, and, of course, the music pirate tee.

Split Reason | T-shirts, hats and other apparel for the Internet Generation.

26 January 2005

Comments are back on

I've turned comments back on for new posts. SixApart released a patch (that was quick!) to take care of the comment mailer issues.

Live tracks need to be labeled!

Damn it! I bought the Bruce Hornsby Greatest Hits album from iTunes last night (stop laughing; I like it). At least 3 of the tracks are live tracks. I happen to like some live tracks, but the vast majority of live tracks (not just these) are utter crap. If we have to label explicit lyrics, we need to ammend the law so every live track be labeled as such.

Comic round-up

This has been a good week for comics and their writers.

First up, Penny Arcade does it again, taking the major sports leagues to task for these idiotic exclusive deals with various game companies. Why is this bad for video games? Because.

And Auchtoon does it again. Now, I'm no economist (and nowhere near retirement) so this social security thing hasn't blipped too much on my radar (I know, I know), but Auchtoon takes a decidedly local spin on this issue. Hell, even I chuckled. Link

And, of course, Dilbert is killer this week as well. Well, Sunday was anyway.

Douglas Adams honored by International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center

In a tribute fitting a man of his caliber, an asteroid has been named in honor of the author, humorist, and activist. Asteroid 2001 DA42 is now known as douglasadams. MSNBC helped in the naming process, although it's not exactly clear what they did other than suggest him as a candidate. If they were the only ones, I would be extremely surprised. Nonetheless, the asteroids name obviously has significance for any Adams' fan. I let MSNBC say it:

Not only did it memorialize the year of Adams' death (2001) and his initials (DA), but it also referenced the number 42 — which is absurdly meaningful in the "Hitchhiker" saga as the "answer to the Ultimate Question."


It's an honor far too long in coming, but well deserved and appreciated by his millions of fans. I know I personally want to thank Adams for giving me the spark to read and write, showing me that brilliance, humor, and science are not mutually exclusive things.

Link

25 January 2005

Comments are off

There's a huge vulnerability in the current version of Movabletype, so I'm disabling comments. Hopefully a patch will be out soon and comments will return.

Bloggers and journalism

Much has been written about the New Journalism; that somewhat revolutionary way of publishing that boggles the minds of many newspapermen and cheers the fanboys to no end. I don't profess to be Dan Gillmore (or, for that matter, any of the people who rank in the Technorati), but I was a journalism-type person at one time and earned recognition as a writer at one time (now, long past, I'm sad to say).

This issue, is a blogger a journalist, has taken on a life of its own. The debate has centered not around when to abide the same protections given a journalist to a blogger, but when to deny a bloggers ability to publish what would be acceptable-or, not to put to fine a point on it, required-of a journalist.

The examples are piling up everyday. Dan Rather. The Kerry Vietnam films. The Bush Vietnam record. Ken Jennings. The damage being done to the 1st Amendment is beginning, and the freedom of the press, that esteemed fourth estate, is next in the sites of the sharks.

But is every blogger a journalist? Of course not, and anyone who implies otherwise either has an agenda or is an idiot. Want proof? Surf any random page on LiveJournal. Nothing against the people who live and breathe the community that is LiveJournal, but it's not exactly the Times. If any random user posts something to their blog, are they automatically entitled to the protections, both legal and social, that any credentialed journalist is entitled to? I don't believe so. Many would agree, some would not.

But there's no getting around one thing. Libel is a real threat and one little understood. Bloggers may be the pajama mujahadeen, but they aren't well represented by their lowest common denominator.

And therein lies the problem. While journalists on the whole share a common trait (the attempt at factual reporting) they also have drawn a line-both in the legal arena and in the public eye-of where a real journalist starts and where they end as well. No one believes Weekly World News when they print something like "Aliens Claim Jacko is Their Son: And They Want Him Back!" But they do believe CBS when they report that the incumbent President lied about his service record. CBS is also protected from libel because they *cough* honestly *cough* believed that the report they aired was true.

CBS took a beating because they are a major, reliable, constant source of hard news. And they have been for decades. WWN doesn't get that same truck with the public because, well, they're a rag. This line, this difference, is evident. Now, I picked extreme examples, but the fundamental point is the same: not all newspaper writers are journalists. So too, not all bloggers are journalists, or should be accorded the protections inherit in being a journalist.

So, really, what we have is a problem outside of the argument of what protections bloggers should have. We have a problem defining who gets that protection. I have few answers to my own question and, honestly, I would prefer to draw that line pretty low. Too high and people like me get left out on our own.

I have the creeping suspicion that the answer is not a good one, that it lies somewhere in the realm of the answer to "How do you identify art?" You just know art when you see it.

Applying the same test to bloggers and protection is a problem. Is Jason Kottke a journalist? Not in the traditional sense. But when he broke the Ken Jennings story (identifying when Jennings would loose on Jeopardy!), he certainly entered that realm, reporting current events in a timely, relevant, appropriate manner. In fact, he did it so well, he got legal attention from Sony, who owns the Jeopardy! franchise. But, interestingly enough, the Washington Post, who ran with the same story, didn't. Many have speculated that this was a symptom of picking on the source with no funds for a defense. While that's an obvious play for the legal team at Sony, I suspect a part of the decision to lay into Jason was that no lawyer at Sony had the first clue who Jason Kottke was. Hence, he was an easy target because he didn't have "LLC" tacked to his website.

I don't believe there are easy answers to this debate. In fact, I think it's going to take something fundamental, something at the Supreme Court level, to honestly and finally decide that online publishing is protected. That's a scary thing to say because really, at the base level, everything said here on this blog, or on any blog for that matter, automatically fall under the protection of the 1st Amendment. But really, as Mr. Kottke illustrates, they don't. There is a fuzzy area, one that creeps wider every year, that envelopes publishers on many fronts. Too many laws now contradict each other; laws that were never designed to deal with a world completely connected. A world that transmits a fact around the world, back again, and relegates that fact to yesterday's news in a matter of hours.

I hope the answer is settled soon. I hope the web really does transform the world. It won't be Utopia because Utopia is a construct. But the future reality, for the first time in a long time, can be better than that which spawned it. But that's only if we find our way to talk about it.

Who Knew This Site Caused Illness?

It was bound to happen

Doctor Unheimlich has diagnosed me with
You Know What Part's Syndrome
Cause:excessive Internet usage
Symptoms:bendy arms, hand swelling, knee swelling, nose extension
Cure:none
Enter your name, for your own diagnosis:


Get Your Own

Moment of clarity

I just had a moment of clarity, and it creeped me out. I won't relate who's blog I was reading, but suffice it to say I was exploring my region when it dawned on me what bothers me so much about Ann Arbor and zealots in general. They define themselves via hate.

I'm talking about a lot of groups here, but the one that struck me was someone defining themselves via their feelings on the current administration. While that can of worms threatens to explode all over the place, I'll leave it alone since I have problems with Bush an Co. myself (asta la vista Ashcroft; don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out), but seriously, when you define yourself, who you are, with something you hate, that's a serious issue.

These same people would come out of the woodwork if I went around defining myself as someone who's not to keen on the current state of minority rights. It feeds back into the attitude around blogs that as long as you conform to some pre-defined way of being (hate Bush, crusade for gay rights, call America "Jesustan", anti-DRM, pro-iPod, etc), you're ok. Hate all you want. Define yourself that way; no one is going to call you on being a bigot in your own right. As long as you're "right", according to the bulk of the Technorati Top 100, it's ok.

I saw a great quote (and I can't find it now), but it really speaks volumns. "Republicans think Democrats are wrong; Democrats think Republicans are evil." There's a lot to that, more than the chuckle you just had reading it.

24 January 2005

Stupidest... line... ever

This line takes the cake, and makes me reflect that, while I live in the alternate reality of Ann Arbor, I don't live in the City (that's San Francisco). Why is that important? Because of lines like this:

While the goal is reducing plastic bag pollution, paper was added so as not to discriminate.


Thank god all those paper bags aren't being discriminated against. Well done, San Francisco.

Link

Bunny Suicides

Required "I have a blog" link for the week: Bunny Suicides. Yes, that's what it is. And damn it, I laughed out loud.

22 January 2005

New icon

no hipsters image

I was really bored on Thursday. Finally traced this from source sketch.

Blockbuster online

J-- and I signed up for the trial of Blockbuster online, basically a NetFlix knockoff for about $3 cheaper (for now). A friend of mine in Grand Rapids had NetFlix and raved about it. The office was buzzing about Napolean Dynamite, so we figured what better time to get a couple free movies on trial then now. We queued up our first movies on Monday; they were in our mailbox on Wednesday. Not bad. We'll see if it keeps up.


Now that we actually have an online movie service, I wonder about how we'll use it. We are the classic want-to-watch-something-good people, but we're also the too-lazy-to-go-to-the-video-store people as well. And Blockbuster or Hollywood Video are literally 5 minutes away. (Yes, it's sad.)


But now, with the movies immediately available and automatically rotated, I have the feeling that popping in a movie isn't that big of a deal. We've watched two of the three we have out already and would have mailed the two back if the damn weather wasn't godawful. (Update, 7 inches in the AA area).


I actually have high hopes for this... not that renting movies is going to be a life-changing moment, but it will deliver some different options once in a while. Or, at the very least, it'll put decent pictures on that HDTV.

Kilpatrick off the hook? Bully-Cummings falls on sword

Oh man, looks like Detroit mayor Kilpatrick is squirming like he's Bill Clinton. He even found someone to fall on the sword for him. Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings is copping to the purchase of the vehicle and claiming... wait, let me quote it, it's classic:



"I’m not sitting here in retrospect saying it was the best decision in the world," Bully-Cummings said.


Uhm.. duh.


Wow, this guy is like Teflon... non-stick AND bad for your health.



Link

And the beat goes on, buh duh dum da da dum

This just gets better and better. Channel 7, the local ABC channel here, went to the city Purchasing Department and asked to see requisition number 177316, a public document used to lease the Lincoln Navigator under suspicion. Guess what. They "lost" it. In the words of Dr. Evil, riiiight.



The mayor is going to make a public statement at 1pm today. Should be an interesting lie.

21 January 2005

Detroit mayor is rotten to the core

For anyone outside of the metro Detroit area, this is a HUGE news story right now.

Basically, the mayor's office leased, for one year, a Lincoln Navigator, allegedly for the mayor's wife. Price? $24,995, exactly $5 under the amount that triggers a review by the City Council. Length of lease? 1 year. Oh, but Lincoln doesn't actually offer a 1 year lease, so the lease was for 2 years with the understanding the it would be returned in a year. Oh, and the lease (and the story) broke about three days after the mayor went on TV and told the city that more than 700 people would get laid off due to budget problems.

One of the local TV stations got a hold of this and sent the in-your-face "On Your Side" reporters to check it out. Lies ensued ("It was for the police", "It's a coincidence that it's the same plate as the mayor's wife's car from last year".. that kind of stuff) and the reporter followed the mayor to DC for a mayor's conference. His in-your-face style got him slammed into a corner, on camera, and basically guarenteed that the mayor and his thugs get front-page, top-of-the-hour coverage, until the stations and papers get blood.

To get a taste of the venom and righteous rage being hurled at the mayor's office, check out Brian Dickerson's column in the Detroit Free Press. Great stuff. Happy hunting, Detroit press.

20 January 2005

Free songs from iTunes and Pepsi

I didn't have an iPod the last time they did this (and let you read the codes on unopened bottles, if I remember correctly). Hoepfully I can get some free schwag and a caffeine rush at the same time!

Apple - iTunes - Pepsi

19 January 2005

18 January 2005

Iron Chef America

One of my intents for this year was to post fewer links to Blogcritics this year. I often post to them because they drift to the top of my subscriotion by virtue of the "B" in their name.

But, I have to link to this; a review of Iron Chef America. I should have said something about this as we actually watched it. This review pretty much says what I would have said: It's not the original, but what the hell.

Link

Family Guy is back!

May 1st! Family Guy is back on Fox!

Seriously, if you haven't watched Family Guy, do yourseld a favor and rent or buy the first seasons. It is hands down the funniest show Fox had. Think Simpsons (before they started The Plunge) and then make it even more irreverent. No where else could you have the lead fat guy character lick his own nipple and have you falling off your chair laughing (that's a real joke, by the way).

Link

New version of Picasa is out

I tried the initial version after Google bought the comapny and was underwhelmed. Not that version 1 wasn't a solid app, it just didn't do anything I couldn't do for myself with a decent folder structure.

This version seems to add some nice features, like sharing and collage. I may have to try this out again.

Link

17 January 2005

Comment issues

Apparently I'm still an idiot and hosed comments yet again. Apparently MT Blacklist wasn't playing nice with something, but it should be fixed now.

I still have comment moderation on, so you won't see your comments right away, but they will show up--eventually.

Comcast to bump up speed again - More! MORE!

Sweeeeet. Comcast is going to bump up their download speed to 3 Mbps and upload to 384 kbps. Now, if we could only get that to 1 Mbps upload.

Link

16 January 2005

Sushi!

I love sushi; I think I've mentioned that before. Grand Rapids had one fairly decent place to go for sushi--Shogun. The Alpine Teriyaki & Sushi wasn't bad, it was just easy to get to for us when we lived there, hence the frequecy of visiting (two days in a row sometimes).


Here in the alternate reality of Ann Arbor, there's only one place to go (well, so far); Godaiko. They have really good rolls (tight and not too big) and the sashimi is usually pretty good, as long as you stay away from the whitefish. (That's not a dig at Godaiko, it's just a mid-range sushi restaurant issue all around.) Miki is ok, but it's overpriced for the quality you get and, well, it's downtown so you have to deal with that if you want to go on a weekend. Saica, on Plymouth, had potential, but we just keep going back to Godaiko.


Of course, that's all well and fine. But now I have a new bend on the whole sushi-love: making it myself! J-- got me a bunch of stuff for Christmas and we've made it for ourselves twice now. I'm finally getting the hang of rolling, although my sushi rice skills leave a little to be desired. But, the best part is we can make so much more of the kinds we like, such as Tempura Shrimp Rolls.


Oh, Tempura Shrimp Rolls, how we love you! Even with the big PITA that you are to deep fry and remove from skewers, your flavor and texture makes up for it in the first bite. And yes, to make you we even move towards the redneck sushi by mixing spicy chili sauce with mayonnaise, spreading the sauce over the rice, adding scallions and then rolling with the tempura shrimp, but your so good that way, we can't help ourselves.


So, with a little up front investment (a good knife, a bamboo rolling mat, and a rice cooker), you really can do well making this stuff. For about the price of going out once, we made enough sushi for 2 meals, if not more. Plus, it's one more thing you get to tell people about that they likely haven't done.

11 January 2005

Thunderbird to Outlook

I've been using Thunderbird for a while, but I'm seriously considering moving back to Outlook. Calendering, while not big, is becoming bigger. I have my planner, but it's got one huge downfall: I actually have to read it. Outlook will actively tell me "you're missing something".

Plus, I now have a license for Office 2003 (legally, believe it or not; perks of working for the University) and it's possible to go back Outlook. Yes, yes, I know, Evil Empire, Neo-Commies and all that, but the damn application works like I want it to (well, almost. When can I display my tasks along with my Inbox?)

Anyway, this post details one persons attempt to get his mail from Thunderbird to Outlook and I'm linking so I don't loose the resource. Just in case.

A little bit of Florida comes to Grand Rapids, unfortunately

You always know it's going to be bad when Fark picks up a story from the Grand Rapids Press.
Kidnap suspects, victim all land in jail

Ah yes.

A kidnapping and beating were bad enough for a 20-year-old Grand Rapids man, who Sunday night was eating at McDonald's with his girlfriend when three captors took him away.

Next came the ransom demand -- a paltry $800.

Five hours later, the victim was rescued by police -- and then thrown in jail along with his kidnappers. He had an outstanding charge, police said.


Here's a shocker; police "believe" it was drug related.

Fark has a "Florida" tag for weird stories like this that come out of The Sunshine State. It's already been proposed in the forums that Michgian get one as well. Articles like this aren't helping prevent that tag from appearing. *sigh*

Link

New, free, encryption for home users

Just what the title says, free encryption software for home users. The web site claims that it's easy to use and works with pretty much any mail application you might have (Thunderbird, Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora..)

Grab a copy before Slashdot posts a link. I also have it housed on my Comcast site (Right-click, download)

Home - Ciphire Labs

09 January 2005

Nothing like being a jackhole - Wiley cuts into web comics

In my constant surprise that there are people who not only don't get it, but openly and adamently opposed those who do get it, I have yet to see the old and new clash in full view of the public, and not just the blogosphere.


Case in point, Wiley, the guy who writes Non Sequitur, one of those comics you used to read but don't anymore because the characters long ago ceased being actual characters and started being mouthpieces for the artist. (Yes, I had that attitude before the events to-be-commented-upon.)


In short, Wiley doesn't like web comics, specifically PvP, which I mentioned before. He doesn't like the fact that Scott Kurtz is giving away his product for advertising revenue. And now he's taking public pot shots at Scott and web comics in general in his strip.


Penny Arcade has a great rebuttal. Warning: They like to swear, but they make a great point.

08 January 2005

My new favorite term

I don't usually go too far with Joi Ito's politics or POV, but he's coined my new favorite phrase... "ignorance creep"."



Link

07 January 2005

Miscarriages as crimes?

I'm from a fairly conservative background and even I don't get this one.

A Virginia state representative, John Cosgrove, has introduced legislation that would require women to report all miscarriages within 12 hours. ALL miscarriages...within TWELVE hours. Link


or, the actual text of the bill

When a fetal death occurs without medical attendance, it shall be the woman's responsibility to report the death to the law-enforcement agency in the jurisdiction of which the delivery occurs within 12 hours after the delivery. A violation of this section shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor. [Emphasis NOT mine]


What is the purpose of this? I get the on-our-way-to-banning-abortion tack to the Bill, but the Bill itself is a bit... uhm.. retarded. Natural miscarriages are, unfortunately, not that uncommon. They're also damned traumatic. Why anyone sees the need to add more trauma by requiring a legal requirement to report it is bordering on insane. And not hyperbolic insanity either; there is a serious disconnect in this requirement, or even coming to this conclusion.

It does open up the possibility of lots of other mandatory reporting, though. Ah, the comedy gold-mine that could becoming. Class A felony for not reporting a cut made by knife (don't skip in the kitchen!), 90 days for failing to report a nosebleed (hey, you could be on cocaine), make sure you go to gesundheit.gov every time you sneeze (their traffic exceeds even Slashot).

Apparently Fark needs a "Virginia" tag.

Text of Bill

Whittaker Chambers vs Ayn Rand

NR's 50th Anniversary: Whittaker Chambers on Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged on National Review Online

Ayn Rand is, well, whatever you think of her, she's rich. Which is pretty much what she set out to be. She's rich in that Scientology kind of way, with an "institute" and a pseudo-philosophy. She's also celebrating 50 years of living with Whittaker Chambers' too-long lost review of Atlas Shrugged, 1,110+ pages of, well, I'll let Mr. Chambers describe it:

Out of a lifetime of reading, I can recall no other book in which a tone of overriding arrogance was so implacably sustained. Its shrillness is without reprieve. Its dogmatism is without appeal.


And that's not even the good part. National Review has posted this landmark book review (?) on it's website to commemorate the 50th anniversary of it's publication.

Of course, not everyone agrees with Mr. Chambers. Someone on Blogcritics, who classified his post (amoung other things) as being about Books:Spirituality, post this excuse-laden article in defense of the book and of Rand. The post is a classic believers rebuttal-all bluster and no meat. After getting done attacking Chambers, the author raises the party lines:

This infamous money quote of the piece has been quite justifiably cited for years by Rand supporters as the textbook example of the dishonesty of her critics.


Ok, tell me about that. Explain to me why it's "textbook example of... dishonesty". The author doesn't. I suspect because he can't.

Anyway, read the two articles. I'm sure most people already have an opinion about Rand so rehashing 50-year-old arguements won't change many minds.

06 January 2005

Gadget lust - Dell's 20.1-inch LCD monitor

Clean up! Ryan's keyboard.



"20.1-inch 16:10 widescreen LCD display has a 1680x1050 WSXGA+ resolution, 4 USB 2.0 ports, a thin bezel, a 600:1 contrast ratio, 12ms response time (great for gaming), picture in picture capability, DVI, S-Video, and composite inputs, and an optional speaker sound bar [...] pick one up for around $600 with Dell discounts or coupons"


drooooool



Link

05 January 2005

Conyers Shafting the Poor?

Is it really that hard for US Rep John Conyers (D-MI) to produce a document to account for distributing turkeys? A letter stating "we're giving you a boat-load of turkey. Happy Holidays!" or a news story puff-piece when his office passed them out? What's the hold up?

The director of a Detroit food bank wants to know what happened to 60 turkeys -- 720 pounds of frozen birds -- that his charity gave to members of U.S. Rep. John Conyers' local staff two days before Thanksgiving to give to needy people.

Conyers' Detroit office promised an accounting of any turkey distribution by Dec. 27, but the Gleaners Community Food Bank had received no paperwork as of Tuesday, said the charity's director, Agostinho Fernandes.

Fernandes said he became suspicious that the turkeys didn't get to poor people after hearing from a friend that a federal court worker had said he was offered free turkeys from a member of Conyers' staff.


Link

New Category

I've added a new category, "Rants", to which yesterday's screed has been reassigned. Filing all of that stuff under Politics was becoming silly.

New Edition of Computer Arts has a free copy of Bryce 4

Looks like you can get a decent landscape renderer from Computer Arts for free; Bryce 4 (the previous version) is on the CD that comes with the magazine. I've purchased this from Barnes & Noble before (in-store).

Computer Arts website also has a great download section with lots of tools.

04 January 2005

More people who just don't get it

I'm starting a new movement. Actually, it's quite a big movement already, it just hasn't caught the attention of the important people in the world; you know them, they go by "progressive", "liberated", or "Blue stater". They're a huge group of people who are engaged in a grass-roots campaign to split this country right down the middle, both ideologically and geographically. They hate "fly-over states" and all that those huge tracts of land, oh wait, people, espouse to believe in.

My movement is this: shut up or I'll sick my mom on you.

03 January 2005

Mars Rover 1-Year Old

I totally flubbed this one and now it's all over the 'net, but the Mars rover Spirit is one-year old today. Originally slated for a 2-month mission, it's so exceeded it's expected performance it's actually starting to overcome some of the bad press NASA has had in the past few years.

JPL has a really cool Flash retrospective on their site and people on Slashdot are bitching that it's all a PR stunt. Yeah, 'cause it's easy to stage a successful mission.


Link

100 most popular Gutenberg downloads

Project Gutenberg, the site with thousands of free books available for download, has posted their top 100 of 2004. It's amazing to look at the great stuff availble for free thanks to the contributions of thousands of people all over the world. I need to get my Franz Kafka formatted and/or printed.

Link [via J-Walk]

01 January 2005

I am bored.. dot com

This is what you find when you type "I'm bored" into Google. I-am-bored.com.

Monty Python - Just the words

Ok, someone is even more obsessed than I thought possible and has set down the entire script of the Flying Circus episodes from Monty Python. Check out the homepage for even more weird resources. Very cool.


Link