Bush Wants Right to ISP Customer Data

Proof yet again that Bush is not a Republican. LESS government, damn it. LESS, you idiot.

Are Libertarians still viable?


This is the coolest map store on the planet

National Geographic, you rock. (And whoever is your graphic designer is undercompensated.)


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.

  1. 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)

  2. Too many people in the "American" media have lost any concept of loyalty to their country.

  3. 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?

  4. Muslims in Muslim countries can dish it out, but they can't take it.

  5. Seeing Kingdom of Heaven this week, I was sharply reminded of the fact that Islam has produced great leaders who accomplished great things. (So where are they now?)

  6. A house divided against itself cannot stand. (The West stands on the brink of collapse from within.)

Flame on, brother. I'd hate to be the poor sap who's got your mail server in his care.

Tomorrow is Towel Day

In honor of the late, great Douglas Adams, tomorrow is Towel Day (as is every May 25th). Carry your towel with you tomorrow, wear a bathrobe (if you can get away with it), and generally spread the Good News that Adams gave to the world. Or, just carry a towel and tell lookers-on about his books.

Douglas, you are still missed.

Link (Wikipedia entry)

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.

Free online graph paper

Following up on this post about free PDFs of graph paper, I emailed the site's owner, Kevin MacLeod, asking after a generator for Cornell note paper. He responded with another excellent graph paper generator. Thanks Kevin! Be sure to donate to Kevin as he recently got Boing Boing'd and could probably use help with the hosting bill coming his way.

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.



Ladies and gentlemen, start your State-endorsed fundraising! Believe it or not, tomorrow, May 20, is NASCAR Day in the State of Michigan. Wear your Little E jackets and call someone on your Nextel phone "to recognize the contributions the NASCAR organization has made to better the lives of children around the country."

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.


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 state. That's right, since they can't keep Vader-like control over the tax revenue they want to extort from consumers minors who order over the internet, no one gets to receive alcohol directly. <sarcasm>(It's for the children! It's for the children! Won't someone please think of the children?!?)</sarcasm>

I give up.

I give up on my fellow voter. There may be one or two informed people out a random sampling of 10, but I'd doubt it. Certainly there aren't enough to get rid of the lot that are ruining this country.

I give up on the common sense of any elected official. You may go into it sane, but you certainly don't stay that way for long (Exhibit A, our esteemed Liquor Control Commission Chairwoman).

I give up on the sanity of this whole damn country. No one seems to have a grip on anything of importance (and you Repubertariacrats can put your hands down, too). From reality television to Terry Schiavo to IP laws, the collective cognitive failure in this country scares the piss out of me.

Is anarchy still an option? Maybe the people in Montana living in the mountains have it right. Or what we need is someone who finally stands up and unites all of us who don't fall into the neat catergories that the parties have crafted. We need someone who says "It's broken, to the core. Tear it down and start over."

And then I wake up and realize that that person can't exist. The public can't deal with someone who tells the truth. They want to believe that rulings like today's don't censor artists, but instead make it safer for children to watch TV. They want to believe that taking away freedoms they already have make children safe from themselves, instead of making the State richer. They want to believe that the people they put in office are really working for the good of the public. Not me. Not anymore.

If it wasn't so damn tragic it would be a farce.

Douglas Adams had it right; we are living inside the Asylum.


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.


Broadcast Flag is back - Told you so

And now it's worse than ever. Copyfighters will have their rhetoric turned up and thesauruses at hand for this next round. Good luck to them too, their fighting our war.

Write your Congresscriters; this is a stupid, protectionist move. Look for Orin Hatch to sponsor the final language of this bill.


Christian Phone Company Claims Verizon Hosts Child Porn Ring

Yeah, I'm going to call BS on this one. Sorry, Wonkette, even those of us who want to believe this story don't believe it. MP3s or not, this is too off the wall for reality to even be tacitly interested.


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 people I've worked with who need to understand this. Oh if only I had that magic wand.


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.


Interview with Edward Tufte at Tech Comm Quarterly

Mr. Tufte should be required reading for anyone who dares call themselves a technical writer/author/communicator.


Lake Michigan Mirage

These are some of the coolest pictures you'll see today. God, I miss the lake.


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 for the tax, but it targets a tax base that is so swamped already, even an insignificant charge on lunch is going to provoke a reaction. And considering the way Kwame Arch... er.. Kilpatrick is enjoying the perks, the average Detroiter won't be willing to give another nickel, figuratively or literally.

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"

RE: Stock Photo Sites

Redudant link storage... if only del.icio.us could integrate with my news reader...
Just some link storage - nothing ground breaking here... A list of stock photo sites:

Iconica.com / Photonica.com

[Via scriptygoddess]

Microsoft Help Technology Teams are Blogging (why aren't you?)

Found on the Yahoo HATT group, the AP (Assistance Platform) team is blogging.

So, writers (and those teaching writers of the future), where's your blog?

Rock and Roll

Quick note: Pink Floyd's "A Momentary Lapse of Reason" is still one of the best rock albums ever made.


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.


What is that noisy IoT device on my network?

That's the first question that popped up when I installed AdGuard Home on my Raspberry Pi last night. Within minutes, hundreds of querie...