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Showing posts from March, 2006

Brand and the markets tech can't touch

This is a rant about, well, about being a hick at heart. I grew up in the country (ish). My family still lives in small-town America; quiet streets, nothing taller than 4 stories, weird laws about alcohol. It's NASCAR country.

I say "NASCAR country" in a nice way as most people (read: anyone who lives on the West coast or on the Atlantic seaboard North of, say, Jersey) just don't get it. And, by get it, I mean of course that they a) haven't taken the time to think about it and b) mock it.

Take, for example (and the catalyst for this post) this continuously updated post on BoingBoing about NASCAR-branded [[insert product]]. They lead off with NASCAR-branded meats. Ok, even I thought it was a little weird, but I'll go with the whole "Grill during the race" thing. But, as the days roll on, the comments that are being tacked onto the post are along the lines of "look at what those silly hicks also buy! Isn't that cute!" You can almost taste …

Say Goodbye to Your Rights

I'm sure this will get it's requisite 5 minutes on the evening news, right before the critical update on Desperate Housewives, and then disappear from the headlines, but it shouldn't. Michael Kostelnik, assistant commissioner at Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection Bureau, told the House Transportation subcommittee on Wednesday that:

"We need additional technology to supplement manned aircraft surveillance and current ground assets to ensure more effective monitoring of United States territory."

To what was he referring? Unmanned aerial drones. Thesethings.

Excuse me? Did a government official just ask the House of Representatives to allow Homeland Security to spy on Americans? How could that possibly be abused?

In a scene that could have been inspired by the movie "Minority Report," one North Carolina county is using a UAV equipped with low-light and infrared cameras to keep watch on its citizens. The aircraft has been dispatched to monito…

THIS is what's wrong with this country

Unbelievable. Well, if only it were...

[DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT]: But like anything in politics, there are shades of gray. Senator John Cornyn is a Texas Republican searching for a middle ground. He says illegal immigrants should be able to work in the U.S. legally, but only if they return to their country of origin first.

(on camera): How worried are you about the deep divide within your own party over this issue?

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: I really am not worried about it. I think it's actually healthy.

BASH: You think it's healthy? In an election year it's healthy?

CORNYN: Well, you know, that's the problem in America, we're always having elections.

And then the voice over keeps talking about immigration! This Senator basically said the problem in America is that we too many elections!?!?! Hello, you're (supposed to be) a journalist. For the love of God, if you can't pick out stupid comments in an interview, you need to be fired. No offen…

Thought for the Day

“Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” - Nazi Reich Marshal Hermann Goering, before committing suicide at the Nuremberg Trials

[via Seat of the Revolution]

Things You Don't Expect: Email edition

Below is the complete text of an email I received today.

Subject: Grass

The most urine-resistant grasses tend to be Perennial Ryegrasses and Fescues
You can usually get mixtures of those seeds to sow in the spring.

This is to close a loop on a tangental comments from 5 days ago. It took me a second to remember that conversation, which really made the email funny on the first read.

Chelsea Reduces Water Treatment Capacity In Face of Lawsuit

Chelsea city council decided at their meeting on the 14th of this month to shut down one of their reverse osmosis water softeners in an effort to placate Chelsea Investment Group, LLC in their lawsuit against the City and the City Manager. The full story in the Chelsea Standard explains the reasoning for this in detail, but I'll rehash a bit.

The reverse osmosis process of softening the water has a byproduct that must be disposed. In 2002-2003, the City took a short-cut to comply with Michigan Department of Environmental Quality rules and ran the discharge into the Chelsea Wastewater Treatment Plant and keep the money from the Drinking Water Revolving Fund, which was tied to a schedule. Which was great when the projection for waste to be disposed was a max of 125,000 gallons, but the City is actually pumping out 414,000 gallons at peak, with an average of 250,000 gallons per day. Tied to the Library issue from earlier this year, you'd think the City needs a math tutor. But, I d…

To Buy or Not To Buy - Dyson Vaccuum

So, dear readers (there are more than one of you, right?), I need an opinion.

We have three pets, two of whom shed hair like limbs at a leper convention. The house is, understandably, a little on the hairy side. It's getting much worse than we can take and the vacuum we have just isn't cutting it anymore.

So, we've obviously heard about the Dyson Animal Upright and started doing some reasearch. Amazon has over 200 reviews with a cumulative 4 star rating. J-- found an 8 page review by someone claiming to be a former Rainbow salesman that sounded like it could've been written by a well-compensated advertiser (not saying it was, just was a glowing, well-written review). Aside from the outliers who likely wouldn't have been happy is Mr. Dyson had made a machine that performed certain acts as you vacuum, the machine sounds like the perfect buy.

Except it's a $500+ vacuum. I've paid less, recently, for a computer with a monitor. As much as I want to have something t…

Engadget Busted Stealing Content

Ah, the wonderful world of Engadget. I always forget how unbelievably pretentious Engadget is until they decide to step in it publically. Like today when they got called out for ripping off content from another site (one which they've apparently had a spat with).

Until one of those sites breaks a story. This one is the Ubiquitous Multimedia Informator, aka Brick. DapReview.net got their hands on a unit and broke the story. Engadget originally posted the picture DapReview.net had used and linked to the site. Then, someone got a hold of the post and changed it, cropping the photo to remove the link to DapReview and no link to the original story. DapReview has some pretty damning screenshots.

Digg picked this up and the comments are off and running. Ryan Block, Peter Rojas, and Jason Calacanis all have (apparently) weighed in on the subject but all seem to be missing the point. They're saying this is a "mistake". How exactly did a posted article get revised to carefully r…

Abortion 101

Voltaire said, “If we believe absurdities, we shall commit atrocities.” He was right, and both extremes in the abortion controversy demonstrate that. But the ‘pro-life’ side has a worse case of absurdity than the pro-choicers, and that won’t change until (at a minimum) they face up to what they really want.

Say what you want about Eric S. Raymond, and many have, the man makes compelling arguments. I highly recommend reading the entire article; I guarentee pro-abortion activists will remember this one.

Armed and Dangerous - Blog Archive - The Rape Exception

Who says religion is boring?

Today is Purim, the Jewish holiday commemorating the story of Esther (full back story here). Why should us goyims care?

We are also commanded to eat, drink and be merry. According to the Talmud, a person is required to drink until he cannot tell the difference between "cursed be Haman" and "blessed be Mordecai," though opinions differ as to exactly how drunk that is.


....


It is customary to hold carnival-like celebrations on Purim, to perform plays and parodies, and to hold beauty contests. I have heard that the usual prohibitions against cross-dressing are lifted during this holiday, but I am not certain about that. Americans sometimes refer to Purim as the Jewish Mardi Gras.

Aw yeah. And it's good prep for St. Patty's. See, Irish Catholics, you have lots in common with other religions. Note to Protestants: Seriously, you left the best parts behind, didn't you? No wonder this country is going to hell; all the cool people stayed on the other side of the o…

*sniff* A Little Slice of Home

So, Frank Turner is a little, uh, touched, which is something I didn't know. Not "stab you on the subway" touched (we don't have a subway... sheesh), but "God has told me to do this really, really silly thing" touched. Frank wants to host a radio show on 1340 WEXL-AM (AM?) and needs the prayers of all Detroiters to do it, something about contracts. DetroitWonk says:

Well, I'm fairly certain Channel 7 may allow him to have all of the time he needs, because the attorneys are most likely working round-the-clock to get him off of their payroll as quickly as possible.

After seeing Frank's website, I believe that's the most accurate statement of the week. Just how bad is Frank's situation with regard to his contract with Channel 7? If you believe Frank, it's downright Biblical.

Didn’t our Apostle Paul suffer threatening, jailing, beatings, near-drowning, false accusations, scorn and ridicule to build the Lord’s first congregations of believers an…

Free (usually good) music from SXSW

SXSW (that's South by Southwest) is going on. SXSW is a huge media festival, for lack of a better term. It's tons of indie bands, movie makers, and media types (a growing number of which are Web media types) gathering in Austin to be... well.. corporately sponsored.

But, they do draw an incredible amount of very cool, very unknown (to a national audience) entertainers. And, as a bonus, they release all that music for free.

You can now get the torrents for the music here. Last year there was about a months worth of music and I kept a great deal of it. I hope this year is even better.

Enjoy

Finally a way to recycle polystyrene

"Kevin O’Connor of University College Dublin and his colleagues heated polystyrene foam, the generic name for Styrofoam, to convert it to styrene oil. [...] the scientists fed this styrene oil to the soil bacteria Pseudomonas putida, which converted it into biodegradable plastic known as PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoates)." It's about time because 2.3 million tons of polystyrene foam (styrofoam) are dumped in US landfills each year, and over 14 million metric tons of the stuff are produced annually around the world. Since the foam is very light (95% air), 14 million tons takes up lots of volume.

If this is viable, how hard would it be to scale up? Or can someone make money from it? Because if they can, this will take off in a huge hurry. Maybe the local recycling authority will start taking the stuff, too. Oh, what bliss that would be.

Treehugger: Finally Something To Do With All That Styrofoam?

Professor allegedly shows explicit video

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) -- A criminal justice professor at Grand Rapids Community College has resigned after showing a video in class of a man having sex with a pig, students and a faculty representative said.

Ah, home. Grand Rapids, that is. Not GRCC or video-making facilities of such repute.

Link

Web 2.0 Meets Beer

I'm not big on this AJAX-y, Web 2.0, pre-bubble 2.0 crap, but I have to admit, Coastr is a pretty clever twist. Think social bookmarking (ala Flickr) crossed with Beer Advocate, plus a better web-designer. While Coastr isn't likely to replace BA or RateBeer anytime soon, it's a nifty little experiment. I've tossed a few of my favorites up there already.. wonder where it will go.

[via Real Tech News]

Update: I've been linked as an example of a "low signal-to-noise ratio with Web 2.0's colloquial usage". Oops. Just to clarify, on this blog, "Web 2.0" is synonymous with "Bubble 2.0". AJAX technologies have opened the doors for some really cool innovations and development ideas. Social sites are cool because they're niche sites created by people who live in the niche. If AOL thinks they're on the cusp of "Web 2.0" innovations, that laughing you hear is the collective voice of the real innovators. You have some cool stuf…

Change Windows

You know, like any decent OS would let you do. (I'm looking at you, too, Apple.)

First, install this (This is the link I used a no nasties for over a month). XP SP2 only. This replaces a DLL that essentially locks you out from changing the Windows UI. Yeah, it's stupid, but at least there's a hack.

Then, head over to deviantART and grab a bunch of styles.

Unzip to \Windows\resources.

Open Desktop Properties, click the Appearence tab, and choose your new style from the Windows and buttons drop-down.

Enjoy the look of Windows for a few more months, at least until Vista screws this up yet again.

Inspired by this LifeHacker post.

Hi, I'm a Stupid Idea

Email + Dance Dance Revolution = dancing through your email? Note to the Washington Department of Health. Please visit One Microsoft Way, Redmond, WA 98052 (link to map) and inspect the cafeterias and common areas of the buildings on this campus as an apparent outbreak of some as-yet-unknown contaminant is affecting thousands of workers at this address. Symptoms include delusional behavior, irrational thought patterns, and monopolistic business practices. Highly recommend a Vistectomy and/or application of Ointment SX. Research also indicates that exposure to other interests, such as Origami, may be helpful in recovery.

Link[via LifeHacker]