Tuesday, February 28, 2006

5:01 PM

2:28 PM

Raph’s Website » What are the lessons of MMORPGs today?:

Lone heroes can’t slay dragons. It takes an army.

People are only good at one thing.

That’s why it takes six people (all doing different jobs) to kill most anything.

You never, ever, ever change jobs. If you want to, you probably need to die.

You can be the best in the world at your job.

But so can everyone else.

And you will all do it exactly the same way.

Intelligent beings who have civilizations and languages of their own are generally evil and should be slain.

2:09 PM

9:50 AM

Lagoon Re
1:41 AM

1:24 AM

Monday, February 27, 2006

3:10 PM

CollegeHumor Movie: CH friend Aziz Ansari is forced to carry around a boombox playing the world's shittiest mixtape.
3:07 PM

'Pizza pope' builds a Catholic heaven - Sunday Times - Times Online:

A FORMER marine who was raised by nuns and made a fortune selling pizza has embarked on a £230m plan to build the first town in America to be run according to strict Catholic principles.

Abortions, pornography and contraceptives will be banned in the new Florida town of Ave Maria, which has begun to take shape on former vegetable farms 90 miles northwest of Miami.

3:00 PM

defective yeti: Sark Defends Port Deal:

Sark today sought to quell the growing controversy over his decision to grant the MCP control of several major ports throughout the region.

"I believe that this arrangement with the Master Control Program should go forward," Sark told reporters aboard Solar Sailer One. He emphasized that security would continued to be handled by Tank and Recognizer programs, with the MCP only be in charge of port operations.

But Dumont, guardian of the I/O towers, voiced skepticism. "I could understand ceding authority over ports 21 and 80," said Dumont. "But port 443? That's supposed to be secure!"

12:25 PM

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Stranger | Seattle | News | City | Key Amendments:

After nearly 10 years on the council, Licata is still on point. Last month he told Sports Illustrated that if the Sonics made good on their threat to leave town, the economic and cultural impact would be near "zero."

Licata is right to say that professional sports teams are economically irrelevant to cities. An in-depth 2004 study by the Cato Institute (no enemy of business) found that, if anything, professional sports teams may actually hurt local economies. The study debunks industry claims that sports teams generate new consumer spending (they actually just suck up existing discretionary spending), and concludes, "the net economic impact [is] a reduction in real per-capita income over the entire metropolitan area."
NBA arenas built before 1960 lasted an average of 59 years. NBA arenas built in the 1960s lasted an average of 30 years. In the 1970s—an average of 25 years. In the 1980s—an average of 20 years. And judging from KeyArena (again revamped in 1995), arenas built in the 1990s last 10 years. Indeed, of the 29 NBA arenas currently in use, the average age is 10 years. Only six have been in service more than 15 years, and most of these are already slated for replacement. Licata laughs: "The evidence shows that the team will be unhappy with a new stadium before it's even built."

9:17 PM

7:22 PM

Kathryn Cramer: Watermarking as a Strategy for Insisting on Corporate "Creators": Is DRM the Killer App for Corporate Authorship?:

My experience in the early-mid 90s teaches me that part of the purpose of setting the production standards of early CD-ROMs absurdly high was to promote corporate authorship over individual authorship with the idea that digital products could be authored like film and TV, not like books, thus empowering the executive level and disempowering the actual creators, or rather reconfiguring relations such that executives become part of the creative "team."

Now computers are being sold that allow individuals, and small groups of individuals, to produce works to very high production standards on very low budgets. This also threatens the rise of corporate authorship. So watermark-style DRM may do very little to prevent the "piracy" about which the big media corporations are up in arms, it may be the killer app of corporate authorship.

7:19 PM

6:03 PM

2:27 PM

Saturday, February 25, 2006

7:42 PM

1:46 AM

1:45 AM

Big decision time? Best to sleep on it - Yahoo! News:

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - When faced with a major decision, such as buying a car or a house, it's best to do your homework, and then forget about it for a while and let your unconscious churn through the options.

According to the results of a novel study published today in the journal Science, unconscious deliberation may lead to a more satisfying choice than mere conscious deliberation alone, at least for major decisions.

Conscious deliberation is fine for the less important, more mundane everyday choices like deciding which shampoo or towels to buy, but not for bigger decisions, the report indicates.
1:07 AM

Friday, February 24, 2006

3:35 PM

Why HSA's suck - for most people - Backup Brain:

From personal experience, I can attest that HSA's suck, even if you have a relatively high income, but are not absolutely healthy. In October 2004, we were forced into a high-deductible insurance policy, which is coupled with an HSA. We are financially able to save money to the HSA, but because we have ongoing health care costs, we've needed to draw down the saved funds. The health insurance has paid for exactly nothing in the time that we've had it, though of course we've been paying the premiums. All of our heath costs have come out of our pockets, sometimes (but not always) laundered through the HSA. There are only two "good" things about the insurance. One, we would have 80% coverage in the event of a hospital stay, after paying $4,000 out of pocket (that high deductible). Second, though we pay for virtually all of our health care costs, we pay at the rate that the insurer has negotiated with the providers, so at least we don't pay the full retail price. It's hard to call paying $90 instead of $150 for a routine doctor's visit a terrific deal, compared to the days when we had real health insurance.

Oh, and to get the most out of the policy, you have to be diligent about following all of the famously confusing paperwork and making sure that the insurer has credited all visits towards the deductible. If you want prescription costs to count towards the deductible, you have to keep all the pharmacy receipts, make copies, then submit each receipt as a separate claim. Mind you, you won't get any money back for doing that bookkeeping; it just counts towards the deductible, so if you do get catastrophically sick, it will cost you a bit less out of pocket.

In short, I've already seen the Bush future. It has cost me more money, and I've gotten less health care for that money. It incentivizes me to put off going to the doctor because of the cost, thereby increasing the chance that I'll put off getting early treatment for illness. It's more complicated and bureaucratic. It sucks.

3:15 PM

3:14 PM

BiZBash: Ideas and Resources for Special Events and Meetings:

The Vanity Fair party at Mortons—with its well-documented reputation as the evening's most exclusive, star-studded party—comes with a price tag estimated at $2 million (the magazine's PR team didn't respond to our requests for comment). In past years, the party has featured a 30-foot-long, 10-foot-tall myrtle topiary in the shape of the magazine's title, lighting by lighting-designer-to-Buckingham-Palace Patrick Woodroffe, and tables set with Asprey accessories and custom-made engraved enamel lighters.

But the price of the party also includes dollars spent long before the doors to Mortons swing open. Condé Nast, the mag's New York publisher, flies as many as 30 staffers to Los Angeles to prepare for as long as three weeks; they stay at the Beverly Hills Hotel and drive rented cars.

1:47 PM

The Stranger - Slog:

Dark Room, the Crispin Spaeth dance piece playing Fridays and Saturdays (three shows per night) through March 4 at Western Bridge. It’s about a half hour long, you sit on bean bags, the place is pitch black, and you’re given night-vision goggles. But the dancers aren’t. They can’t see a damn thing. It’s incredible they’ve figured out how to dance together in the dark — and it’s interesting the way the floor becomes another dance partner, since it’s the only thing they can count on. The music is restrained beeps, beats, shudderings — I kept thinking of Radiohead’s Amnesiac, minus words — and the total effect is spectral and insomniac. When the goggles can’t find any light in the room whatsoever, they fill with this snowy fuzz. After the show, my date and I went out and stood on the train tracks outside Western Bridge and tried to recreate some of the things the dancers had done, but even with the advantage of a nearby streetlight, we couldn’t.

10:14 AM

1:20 AM

High costs threaten NYC's creative status:

More than 40% of the city’s creative workers made less than $35,000 last year and half have little or no personal savings, according to the poll of 1,200 creative workers. Thirty-nine percent experienced a significant gap in health insurance coverage in the last year and 75% avoided seeking medical care when they were uninsured.

Nearly 10% of the country’s creative sector workers live in New York, but advocates at the Freelancers Union warn that the city’s dominance may be threatened by the high costs. Artists may be forced to leave the city unless a better social net is created.

1:03 AM

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Technology, Technology news, Times Online:

A little while ago, I received an e-mail from a lady in the Trading Standards department of a large northern town. They had encountered businesses which were selling copies of Firefox, and wanted to confirm that this was in violation of our licence agreements before taking action against them.

I wrote back, politely explaining the principles of copyleft – that the software was free, both as in speech and as in price, and that people copying and redistributing it was a feature, not a bug. I said that selling verbatim copies of Firefox on physical media was absolutely fine with us, and we would like her to return any confiscated CDs and allow us to continue with our plan for world domination (or words to that effect).

Unfortunately, this was not well received. Her reply was incredulous:

"I can't believe that your company would allow people to make money from something that you allow people to have free access to. Is this really the case?" she asked.

"If Mozilla permit the sale of copied versions of its software, it makes it virtually impossible for us, from a practical point of view, to enforce UK anti-piracy legislation, as it is difficult for us to give general advice to businesses over what is/is not permitted."

I felt somewhat unnerved at being held responsible for the disintegration of the UK anti-piracy system. Who would have thought giving away software could cause such difficulties?

6:03 PM

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Court Documents: Hospital Gave Lethal Injections to Patients During Hurricane Katrina:

The NPR report states, "According to statements given to an investigator in the attorney general's office, LifeCare's pharmacy director, the director of physical medicine and an assistant administrator say they were told that the 'evacuation plan' for the seventh floor was to not leave any living patients behind, and that 'a lethal dose would be administered', according to their statements in court documents."

Commenting, Not Dead Yet, says, "In other words, the only way the staff could evacuate was if they could report there were no more living patients to take care of. This was not about compassion or mercy. It was about throwing someone else over the side of the lifeboat in order to save themselves."

4:55 PM

The Money Conversation:

As seen in The New Yorker:

"...a provocative stunt: over the course of six performances, she is giving away her entire savings (five thousand dollars) to members of the audience. Since Juli also provides a way for people to give the money back, if they wish, or to donate more, each show becomes a moral experiment. There's some movement, some humor, and a lot of audience participation, but a basic idea predominates: a compression of the everyday economic gamble made by all aspiring artists in the big, cruel city."

4:05 PM

2:27 PM

Trying to Translate What My Girlfriend Is Saying in Swedish While She's on the Phone to Her Mother.:

The weather here is like a hawk or small factory. Claws grab once and leave things burning, making people go to work while they are deadened from this. Yes, that is the case. That is the omen. When you take a vacation, you know there is hot iron and metal clawing at workers here.

(Pause while her mother comments or asks her something.)

2:17 PM


2:01 PM

Stand up for Denmark:

The incredible thing about the ongoing Kristallnacht against Denmark (and in some places, against the embassies and citizens of any Scandinavian or even European Union nation) is that it has resulted in, not opprobrium for the religion that perpetrates and excuses it, but increased respectability! A small democratic country with an open society, a system of confessional pluralism, and a free press has been subjected to a fantastic, incredible, organized campaign of lies and hatred and violence, extending to one of the gravest imaginable breaches of international law and civility: the violation of diplomatic immunity. And nobody in authority can be found to state the obvious and the necessary—that we stand with the Danes against this defamation and blackmail and sabotage. Instead, all compassion and concern is apparently to be expended upon those who lit the powder trail, and who yell and scream for joy as the embassies of democracies are put to the torch in the capital cities of miserable, fly-blown dictatorships. Let's be sure we haven't hurt the vandals' feelings.

1:33 PM

Boing Boing: Investigative blogger picking at secret "A-Hole" technology:

Kathryn Cramer, an investigative blogger, has begun to publish the results of her research into VEIL. VEIL is a technology that the entertainment industry has proposed to turn into a legal requirement for all devices capable of turning an analog signal into a digital one: cameras, recorders and mics of all kinds, in other words. This is to "plug the analog hole."

No one will say how VEIL works, though. As Ed Felten discovered: if you contact the VEIL people and ask for an explanation of how their magic watermarking tech works, they'll charge you $10,000, make you sign a non-disclosure, and then refuse to tell you how the encoding works anyway (they will explain decoding though).

1:26 PM

12:58 PM

Starting from Scratch

To begin with, none of your neighbors began here.
Everyone moved in years before you moved into
a pattern you found yourself part of
before you intended: flowers, fences,
attention to the details your mother always took care of,
duller than film on dishes it was always your job to wipe.
Nobody spoke about courage.

Nobody said you could choose this life.
It happened, it didn't, the fact
you could choose to remain would become
what's yours to control: hours
of sleeping and waking, meals, the home
you need to go out in the world from.
Neighborhood customs you know you can count on.

Recipes, grapes exchanged for zucchini, the garden
someone will know when to plant.
The book you suggest. The pattern of limits
no one has asked for, told over coffee, lives
like yours you could have become
starting from scratch. Each day
the way you will live before what comes next.

Ingrid Wendt

2:34 AM

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

2:33 PM

9:05 AM

2:11 AM

Metroblogging NYC: Dear Williamsburg,:

I hope you'll forgive me for all those years of mocking, because now I'm so in love with you it's silly. I thought I'd miss tacos when I left LA, but you have great tacos and great bagels and pizza and sushi and coffee and wine, and it's all on the short walk between my apartment and the subway. It's not just the food, though! I love the buckets of flowers outside my deli, and the way all the buildings look against the gray winter sky, and I love that the bar around the corner sometimes serves hot cider with rum. I love the little clothing store where everything I tried on actually fit. I love my friendly landlord and my big apartment and its slanty floor.

I don't know what I was thinking a few years ago, hating the hipsters. Now, I want to hug them all. This afternoon the arty/indie boys were cuter than ever, walking to the subway in their hoodies in the rain. In my iPod-fueled daydreams they're checking me out, too, and they're *this* close to inviting me to their band's next show.

2:02 AM

Monday, February 20, 2006

1:27 PM

Alasdair - Pour Him Over Ice Cream For A Nice Parfait:

This evening, I spent two hours eating chocolate.

OK, maybe not quite. But I spent two and half hours learning about chocolate, and there was tasting involved. Because [info]zoo_music_girl and I were at a tasting at my favourite chocolate shop in London (and therefore, the world) L'Artisan Du Chocolat, run by the man behind the chocolate, Gerard Coleman.

2:30 AM

2:20 AM

A Wake

I Called Michael and he told me he just got home from a
wake. "Oh, I am sorry," I said. "No, no," he said, "it was
the best wake I have ever been to. The funeral home was
as warm and cozy as anyone's living room. We had the
greatest time. My friend looked wonderful, much better
dead than alive. He wore his red and green Hawaiian shirt.
He was the most handsome corpse I'd ever seen.
They did such a good job! His daughter was there and
a lot of old friends I had not seen in years. You know,
he drank himself to death. He'd been on and off the
wagon for years, but for some reason this is what he
ended up doing." As my friend kept talking, I thought
of Lorca and what he wrote about death and Spain: "A
dead man in Spain is more alive as a dead man that any-
place else in the world" and "Everywhere else, death is
an end. Death comes, and they draw the curtains. Not
in Spain. In Spain they open them. Many Spaniards live
indoors until the day they die and are taken out into the

Malena Morling

2:15 AM

Sunday, February 19, 2006


10:03 PM

New Katrina E-Mails Show White House Chaos - Newsweek Politics - MSNBC.com:

Back at the White House, the job of monitoring the storm was left to Kenneth Rapuano, Townsend's deputy. At 10 p.m., Rapuano left the White House to go home for the night, believing everything was under control.

It wasn't. Half an hour later, at 10:30 p.m., the Homeland Security Operations Center sent out a two-page bulletin reporting massive flooding and bodies floating in the water. Rapuano later told Congress that no one at the White House woke him to tell him about the report, and he didn't realize the extent of the damage until 6 the following morning, when another Homeland bulletin warned that "it could take months to dewater" the city. Only then did it begin to dawn on top administration officials, including the president, how grave a human—and political—disaster they were facing.

Six months later, there still isn't a clear account of what Bush and his top aides were doing in the hours and days after the levees crumbled and the misery set in.

9:57 PM

12:47 PM

Letter from J. Edgar Hoover to Lucille Ball on how much he loves her work:

12:44 PM

Free Design
12:37 PM

12:31 PM

12:29 PM

11:17 AM

Saturday, February 18, 2006

6:14 PM


Hamlet is an abstract strategy game satirically based on one of Shakespeare's most famous works. Each player has a specific ending to the play and they try to manipulate the events of the play to favor their outcome. It is possible for all players to win, or for a game to have no winner.
5:41 PM

4:35 PM

Houston eyes cameras at apartment complexes:

Houston's police chief on Wednesday proposed placing surveillance cameras in apartment complexes, downtown streets, shopping malls and even private homes to fight crime during a shortage of police officers.

"I know a lot of people are concerned about Big Brother, but my response to that is, if you are not doing anything wrong, why should you worry about it?" Chief Harold Hurtt told reporters Wednesday at a regular briefing.

Building permits should require malls and large apartment complexes to install surveillance cameras, Hurtt said. And if a homeowner requires repeated police response, it is reasonable to require camera surveillance of the property, he said.

4:19 PM

1:34 PM

Guardian Unlimited Books | By genre | Did you really do that, Dad?:

My 17-year-old daughter reads an old novel of mine called Goodness: just recently the older kids have started nosing round my work. In this book she will have read sentences such as: "For a while I surrendered to the most vivid erotic images, my tongue pressed against the blue cotton swell of a girl's plump panties, that sort of stuff."

She says: "I really like the bit where the narrator beats the shit out of his miserable old grandfather." "Yes," I say, "that probably was the strongest moment in the book."

1:19 PM

FRESH YARN presents Just Like My Daddy... by Kambri Crews:

Domestic violence laws were much different then -- it was at least five years before Nicole Brown Simpson's murder would change the laws in favor of victims of spousal abuse. When the police arrived, my father was in a calm state and seated at our kitchen table, so the police simply sent him on his way. Minutes later he returned with a vengeance. He busted the front door off its hinges and ripped my phone out of the wall. I made a quick escape and called 911 using another phone. The police arrested him for trespassing, but a day later he was free to continue his harassment.

I thought my cries for help that night had not been heard. I was wrong. We were evicted from our apartment within a week for "excessive noise disturbance." We found a new apartment, and my mom and I went into hiding. A few weeks later I began my senior year of high school with trepidation and fear. Would I be safe at night? Would I go to college?

12:45 PM

Friday, February 17, 2006

4:45 PM

4:44 PM

4:41 PM

800Px-Li River Landscape In Winter
4:34 PM

Congressman quizzes Net companies on shame | CNET News.com:

Lantos, to Microsoft: Is your company ashamed?

Microsoft: We comply with legally binding orders whether it's here in the U.S. or China.

Lantos: Well, IBM complied with legal orders when they cooperated with Nazi Germany. Those were legal orders under the Nazi German system...Do you think that IBM during that period had something to be ashamed of?

Microsoft: I can't speak to that. I'm not familiar in detail with IBM's activities in that period.

Lantos: You heard (Rep. Christopher Smith's) speech (click for PDF). Assuming that his words are accurate, is IBM to be ashamed of their action during that period?

Microsoft: Congressman, I don't think it's my position to say whether IBM should be ashamed.

10:32 AM

10:28 AM

For grown-ups who just want to be held, a new kind of sex party:

Some of the rules are obvious, like “no sex” and “pajamas stay on the whole time.” Others are not so obvious, like “you must ask permission and receive a verbal yes before you touch anyone” a la Antioch College in the ‘90s. And then there is the ridiculously funny “NO DRY HUMPING!” as if we’re a bunch of dogs running wild in the dog park on a Sunday afternoon.

My skepticism melted into a respect for the necessary structure of a situation in which strangers have the freedom to touch each other. The silliness also helps put people at ease. Although there were a few veteran cuddlers, most of us were FTC’s (first-time cuddlers). Our backgrounds were as diverse as our reasons for being there. There was an Indian grad student, a woman from Zimbabwe, a Ukrainian woman, a couple of musicians, a few writers and a flight attendant. Some people had professional incentives (their work was somehow relevant). Most of us had heard of Cuddle Party through a friend and were curious. Although nobody said so, I’m sure some of the single people were hoping to meet someone with whom they could cuddle on a regular basis. One woman said she was feeling a loss of touch in her life.

12:39 AM

tremble.com: we clap on the downbeat:

I have never had a threesome. Once I had an unsuccessful twosome followed almost immediately by a one-some. But even without firsthand knowledge, I think I can safely say that, obvious awkwardness and unfulfilled expectations aside, if you're part of a threesome—even if you're just there to watch or operate the boom mic—you are having better sex than most people ever will, and you surely know this. And if that was truly your worst sexual experience, I would love to know about your best one. Was it when your sexual partner's ecstatic moans produced a high-frequency sound wave that cured a beggar's leprosy? Or perhaps the time you ejaculated gold coins and cake frosting? My point is, I have nothing personally against this individual but it's important to remember the theme of the show is Worst. Sex. Ever. It's not Most.Thinly.Veiled.Sexual.Brag.Ever.
12:12 AM

Thursday, February 16, 2006

11:47 PM

11:44 PM

11:39 PM

11:36 PM

A song being sung about my sister, Mary Daisey.
9:40 PM

9:21 PM

9:20 PM

I find your lack of faith disturbing: In the Company of Friends:

That said, I'll also say this: while the number of horrible screenwriters outdistances the number of horrible executives, the number of outstanding writers also exceeds the number of outstanding executives. It's extremely difficult to be a great screenwriter (or so they tell me). But it's damn near impossible to be a great executive. The system doesn't allow for it. Human nature doesn't allow for it.

Because to be a great executive you have to be able to do...nothing. You have to have the security, the sensitivity, the balls, really, to read a script and say to your boss: "You know what? It's pretty fucking good the way it is."

And who the hell's gonna do that? First off, most scripts aren't pretty fucking good the way they are. Most scripts fucking suck. Most screenwriters suck. Most movie ideas suck. Most of the reasons a particular movie is getting made suck. So executives are conditioned to think EVERY script has a pretty good dash of suck. It's a good bet to make. It's like betting with the house.

8:42 PM

The Wish
6:49 PM

Andrew Sullivan | The Daily Dish: Insta-pundit:

As for the press strategy: completely unconvincing. He waited, he argued, for accuracy's sake. First reports are always wrong, he claimed. So what? He knew that he'd shot someone accidentally; that person was seriously wounded and taken to hospital; and that's all he needed to report to the national media. As soon as the family had been informed, the press should have been called. It's a no-brainer. It's the press's job to get the details and determine what happened in greater detail. The White House clearly thought that was the right approach, as Cheney said. But Cheney, apparently, trumps the White House on a big story like this when it involves him. So the mystery is not solved, and may never be. Look: this is not a big deal, although it's fascinating in a way. It's just a small deal of dodging, arrogance, and weirdness. Like a lot of stuff related to Cheney. Just ask Scooter.
4:46 PM

3:43 PM

Proof that TV doesn't harm kids:

Most studies of the impact of television, however, are seriously flawed. They compare kids who watch TV and kids who don't, when kids in those two groups live in very different environments. Kids who watch no TV, or only a small amount of educational programming, as a group are from much wealthier families than those who watch hours and hours. Because of their income advantage, the less-TV kids have all sorts of things going for them that have nothing to do with the impact of television. The problem with comparing them to kids who watch a lot of TV is like the problem with a study that compared, say, kids who ride to school in a Mercedes with kids who ride the bus. The data would no doubt show that Mercedes kids are more likely to score high on their SATs, go to college, and go on to high-paying jobs. None of that has anything to do with the car, but the comparison would make it look as if it did.

1:46 PM

1:32 PM

10:09 AM

10:08 AM

Sploid: 'How to Survive a Robot Uprising':

Since their birth over 85 years ago, Robots have been bent on overthrowing the human race and ruling the world.

This ambition has earned robots the unfair reputation of being evil or dangerous.

In reality, it makes them no different than humans.

3:27 AM

1:36 AM

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Via my good friend Patrick:

Your mention of Western Union no longer telegraphing, combined with this first-night stuff, brought to mind one of the filthiest telegrams ever sent. Quoting now, from the book Viva Le Repartee:

When Bette Davis, one of the objects of Tallulah Bankhead's affection, was about to opena a new play, Bankhead sent her one of the most suggestive telegrams of all time. Since Western Union prohibited profanity or graphic language, the message had to be worded in such a way that it would get past the telegraph operator, but be perfectly clear to the recipient. The telegram read:



4:36 PM

12:20 PM

11:21 AM

The Rootkit of All Evil, by Bruce Sterling:

I'm not going to scold Sony BMG. The problem here is larger than one company's effort to own its customers' desktops and spy on their behavior. The real issue is the blurring of lines between blackhat hacking and legitimate business. It's one thing when Russian gangsters take over a few million computers to shake down online casinos. It's another when commercial enterprises adopt the same methods to protect their market. At that point, good corporate citizenship devolves into vigilantism and the implicit trust between supplier and customer unravels.

Imagine the mayhem if this kind of attitude were to become widespread: Coca-Cola would use your desktop to propagate spam about its latest bottle-cap sweepstakes. Vonage would keep Skype offers from reaching your inbox. Samsung would make sure that, when your browser tried to load Sony.com, it reached a fake Sony site where nothing worked. Companies would compile vast archives of customer data merely because they could, hoping they'd stumble on a revenue model.

It's time for lawmakers, trade groups, and public-interest organizations to get down to the hard work of hammering out standards for what businesses can and can't do to customers' computers. Such an effort will need to be international, because the Net knows no bounds. It will need to come up with simple, understandable language for end-user licensing agreements. It will need to draw red lines around unacceptably invasive hacks and map gray areas between spying and market research.

I'm not holding my breath, though. After all, we asked for this. We didn't want to ruffle the feathers of the goose that laid the golden egg of technological progress, so we allowed manufacturers to claim more and more control over the ways we use their products and what they can do with our information. It should come as no surprise that they're using that power as a cover for bigger, possibly more lucrative schemes.

You may not be interested in the digital rights war, but that doesn't mean you'll have the luxury of sitting on the sidelines. Because the other side is very, very interested in you.

11:15 AM

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

10:09 PM

10:58 AM


Regret nothing. Not the cruel novels you read
to the end just to find out who killed the cook.
Not the insipid movies that made you cry in the dark,
in spite of your intelligence, your sophistication.
Not the lover you left quivering in a hotel parking lot,
the one you beat to the punchline, the door, or the one
who left you in your red dress and shoes, the ones
that crimped your toes, don't regret those.
Not the nights you called god names and cursed
your mother, sunk like a dog in the livingroom couch,
chewing your nails and crushed by loneliness.
You were meant to inhale those smoky nights
over a bottle of flat beer, to sweep stuck onion rings
across the dirty restaurant floor, to wear the frayed
coat with its loose buttons, its pockets full of struck matches.
You've walked those streets a thousand times and still
you end up here. Regret none of it, not one
of the wasted days you wanted to know nothing,
when the lights from the carnival rides
were the only stars you believed in, loving them
for their uselessness, not wanting to be saved.
You've traveled this far on the back of every mistake,
ridden in dark-eyed and morose but calm as a house
after the TV set has been pitched out the upstairs
window. Harmless as a broken ax. Emptied
of expectation. Relax. Don't bother remembering
any of it. Let's stop here, under the lit sign
on the corner, and watch all the people walk by.

Dorianne Laux

10:15 AM

1:59 AM

1:24 AM

12:54 AM

Apple Logo
12:38 AM

Sunday, February 12, 2006

CNN.com - Cheney accidentally shoots fellow hunter - Feb 12, 2006:

Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot and injured a man during a weekend quail hunting trip in Texas, his spokeswoman said Sunday.

Harry Whittington, 78, was "alert and doing fine" after Cheney sprayed him with shotgun pellets on Saturday while the two were hunting at the Armstrong Ranch in south Texas, said property owner Katharine Armstrong.

Armstrong said Whittington was mostly injured on his right side, with the pellets hitting his cheek, neck and chest, and was taken to the hospital by ambulance.

4:28 PM

12:38 PM

Islamic Fundamentalists Don't Just Have a Problem with Cartoons, They Have a Problem with Freedom:

Many Europeans agree with Kofi Annan that freedom “should always be exercised in a way that fully respects… religious beliefs, “ and with Sunday Times (UK) columnist Simon Jenkins that the main question here is “whether we truly want to share a world in peace with those who have values and religious beliefs different from our own.” What’s called for, they say, is “respect,” “restraint,” and “responsibility.” And, above all, “sensitivity.” For them, this is simply a case of the powerful mocking the faith of the weak.

On the contrary, what’s happening here is that a gang of bullies—led by a country, Saudi Arabia, where Bibles are forbidden, Christians tortured, Jews routinely labeled “apes and pigs” in the state-controlled media, and apostasy from Islam punished by death—is trying to compel a tiny democracy to live by its own theocratic rules. To succumb to pressure from this gang would simply be to invite further pressure, and lead to further concessions—not just by Denmark but by all of democratic Europe. And when they’ve tamed Europe, they’ll come after America.

12:22 PM

12:15 PM

IPod on the Tracks - New York Times:

The subway doors were still open. I was listening to a Chopin prelude, and I was moving fast. I took the last few steps in a giant jump, sidestepping a man in a wheelchair who was shaking a cup of change. The sounds of piano filled my head. I was going to make the train.

Then I felt a brief tug on my ears, and silence. The iPod had fallen through a hole in my coat pocket and skidded across the platform like a bright white hockey puck. There was a sharp thwack as it slammed into the side of the subway car and fell into the crack between platform and subway, down to the tracks. The whole moment had the brisk finality of a goal in air hockey.

12:13 PM

Martha Stewart Living

A man at the Dominion was looking long and hard
at chicken breasts, first at economy trays
then at smaller portions, finally hefting the smaller
and saying to the woman nudging his rear, 'Do you suppose
these are free-range chickens?' The woman shouldered
him aside.  She was in a hurry, she said, and in no mood
for asinine chit-chat.  'But no,' she said, scurrying away,
'I don't suppose those are free-range.  I suppose those
are dead chickens.' At which point, or actually about thirty
seconds later, the man said to me, 'Some days I am happy
I never married.'

Leon Rooke

11:57 AM

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Tonight, tomorrow and Saturday at Strider Theater:


If you're in Maine, check out the stories--you won't regret it.
6:24 PM

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

6:09 PM

4:41 PM

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

11:13 PM

5:04 PM

1:53 PM

1:38 AM

Monday, February 06, 2006

4:37 PM

cabel.name: Retail Secrets: Best Buy Wall Numbers:

Exiting a Best Buy store once, a small kid leaving in front of me triggered a flurry of furious beeping. Sheepishly, he turned around, slowly, as the loss prevention guy asked him if he might, you know, just in case, have any products on him. The kid's answer was theft-zen beauty: "Oh... I must have accidentally put that movie in my pants."
9:17 AM

The School

On one side the high school, on the other
grades one through seven, the purple-curtained
auditorium shrank and grew shabbier
each August we came back.  Mr. Whitt one year
decided Charles Tomlinson, Slick King, Dwayne
Burchett, Bobby Peaks, and Big Face Cather
could be a basketball team.  They practiced
on a rocky, red-dirt court with a basket
and some boards on a post.  They drove to games
--always at the other school--in Slick's Ford.
Uniforms were jeans and T-shirts.  Big Face
and Bobby played barefoot.  They lost by scores
like ten to ninety-three, unaccustomed to such space,
wooden floors, lights, adults calling them names.

David Huddle

8:38 AM

ArtsJournal: About Last Night:

Wendy Wasserstein died yesterday morning. I met her several years ago when I interviewed her for a story in Time about Central Park, a trilogy of one-act operas to which she had contributed a libretto. I liked her enormously—everybody did—and I was always pleased to run into her at New York City Ballet, which she frequented once upon a time. Then she dropped out of sight, had a baby, and more or less vanished from the theater world. Her plays were no longer being performed in New York by the time I became a drama critic, and it wasn’t until last October that I had occasion to write about her in The Wall Street Journal.

Alas, her last play wasn’t any good, and I said so. I hated to give Third a bad review, not least because I knew Wasserstein was sick, though I didn’t know she was dying. (One of the characters in the play had cancer.) In fact, I didn’t think much of any of Wasserstein’s plays, and I dreaded having to say so in print, since she was an exceedingly nice lady. I fudged the point in my review, calling her “one of our best theatrical journalists, a keen-eared social observer with a knack for summing up cultural watershed moments like the coming of age of the baby boomers and putting them on stage to memorable effect.” All true, and none of it incompatible with the fact that I considered her to be a glib, punch-pulling lightweight, a kind of feminist Neil Simon who never cut too close to the knuckle.

1:46 AM

Do Robots Dream of Electric Lovborgs? - New York Times:

ISAAC ASIMOV'S First Law of Robotics, as any science fiction fan can tell you, states, "A robot may not injure a human being." Perhaps Hans, a gleaming, barrel-chested automaton, hasn't read Asimov. At a recent rehearsal for Les Freres Corbusier's coming play "Heddatron," he defies his radio-controlled commands and zips downstage, thwacking notebooks and coffee cups, as well as the director Alex Timbers and the playwright Elizabeth Meriwether.

Hans's creators, Cindy Jeffers and Meredith Finkelstein of Botmatrix, an art robotics collective, look on with a mix of worry and affectionate pride. Hans may be disobedient, even dangerous, but he's awfully cute. "He's our buddy," Ms. Jeffers explained. "When we were in the middle of making him and he would just be legs, we'd come in and say, 'What's up, Hans?' "

1:17 AM

Sunday, February 05, 2006

11:10 PM

10:38 PM

WSJ.com - Who Ya Gonna Call With Email Trouble From the Tour Bus?:

Computer technician Joshua Kapellen doesn't look like a rock 'n' roll roadie. He's cleanshaven, wears starched, white button-down shirts and a clip-on tie. But to megaband U2, Mr. Kapellen is just as important as all its husky stage hands.

Last March, lead singer Bono needed his Xbox connected while the band rehearsed in Canada. Mr. Kapellen got a call. He hooked up the contraption and a few minutes later was playing videogames with Bono. "It was one of the coolest things that has ever happened to me," says Mr. Kapellen.

8:28 PM

ACLU Releases Government Photos:

For example, more than two dozen government surveillance photographs show 22-year-old Caitlin Childs of Atlanta, a strict vegetarian, and other vegans picketing against meat eating, in December 2003. They staged their protest outside a HoneyBaked Ham store on Buford Highway in DeKalb County.

An undercover DeKalb County Homeland Security detective was assigned to conduct surveillance of the protest and the protestors, and take the photographs. The detective arrested Childs and another protester after he saw Childs approach him and write down, on a piece of paper, the license plate number of his unmarked government car.

"They told me if I didn't give over the piece of paper I would go to jail and I refused and I went to jail, and the piece of paper was taken away from me at the jail and the officer who transferred me said that was why I was arrested," Childs said on Wednesday.

8:26 PM

5:01 PM

Feministe » If You’re In Porn, You Can’t Be Raped:

First, just because a woman appears in a porn magazine, or because she enjoys rough sex, or because she’s had a lot of sexual partners, or because she’s a sex worker, it doesn’t mean she can’t be raped (hell, sex workers are more likely to be raped that non-sex workers). Telling a porn magazine that you like sex shouldn’t shed doubt on your credibility when it comes to being the victim of a crime.

Second, this demonstrates how little lawyers and the courts still understand about the psychology of rape survivors. One of the more common behaviors post-rape is what some would characterize as “promiscuous” sexual behavior (for the record, I hate that word). Rape survivors have had their right to choose to have sex forcibly taken away from them; many women try and reclaim the power they lost through rape by choosing to have sex with many people afterwards. But because this woman doesn’t play the role of the made-for-tv rape survivor, her attackers might go free. How just.

4:47 PM

2:56 PM

2:03 PM

Exclusive: Can the President Order a Killing on U.S. Soil? - Newsweek Politics - MSNBC.com:

In the latest twist in the debate over presidential powers, a Justice Department official suggested that in certain circumstances, the president might have the power to order the killing of terrorist suspects inside the United States. Steven Bradbury, acting head of the department's Office of Legal Counsel, went to a closed-door Senate intelligence committee meeting last week to defend President George W. Bush's surveillance program. During the briefing, said administration and Capitol Hill officials (who declined to be identified because the session was private), California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein asked Bradbury questions about the extent of presidential powers to fight Al Qaeda; could Bush, for instance, order the killing of a Qaeda suspect known to be on U.S. soil? Bradbury replied that he believed Bush could indeed do this, at least in certain circumstances.
10:43 AM

Saturday, February 04, 2006


Today rioters set fire to the Danish embassy in Syria—and the Norwegian embassy too. Nice—you print a comic, we burn down buildings. At rallies in Islamic states, speakers are insisting that the protests will go on until every last one of the cartoonists, all of whom are now in hiding, is beheaded.

Give a shit about freedom of expression? Don’t want what you think, write, draw, and publish to be vetted by a bunch of religious fascists who long to live in the 14th Century? Like your women unenslaved, your speech free, your homos alive, your booze legal, your beard shaved, and your cartoonists headed?

3:43 PM

Man Of India
3:42 PM

Is it best to expect the worst? - Psychologists test long-held theory of emotional cushioning.:

Expecting the worst may not make you feel any better when faced with a disappointment, say psychology researchers who have tested the age-old advice.

Most people believe that mentally preparing for the worst outcome in an examination or race will soften the disappointment if we flunk or flop - and heighten the joy if we succeed. But the idea has rarely been put on scientific trial.

3:40 PM

The Stranger - Features - Feature - Fuck the State of the Union:

Sorry, was that a little too direct for you? You were hoping to conduct politics in a more . . . civil tone? Fuck you. We’re not complete morons out here, you know. We didn’t miss the fact that your minions outed a CIA agent out of spite, or started rumors that McCain had fathered an illegitimate black child, or said that Democrats’ response to 9/11 was to find Al Qaeda a good therapist. And that’s just Karl Rove. How about that Dick you work for telling a senator to go fuck himself right there in the halls of Congress? Tell you what, we’ll put down our guns when you put down yours. Until then, you can stick your civil tone right up your Turd Blossom.

12:44 AM

12:41 AM

Friday, February 03, 2006

For your writing pleasure: Vladimir Nabokov on MySpace.

2:36 PM

The Stranger - Slog - Flight 83:

Then, last night, I was flying home from New York to Seattle on Jet Blue flight 83, when what should come on my live in-flight television screen but… Flight 93, A&E’s dramatic recreation of the last hours of one of the hijacked passenger jets on Sept. 11.

“I can’t believe they’re showing this on a plane,” a woman seated in my row said.

I looked around. Everyone else seemed to be sticking with ground-borne dramas (Law & Order, Hardball), but my row was apparently filled with masochists. All of us were watching Flight 93. On Flight 83.

2:35 PM

11:07 AM

Gothamist: Bus Driver Tries to Rally Kids With Violence:

A Staten Island bus driver created a "fight club" on his bus. And not just any fight club - a fight club named the "Death Cheese Bus," where bus driver Michael Cianci was the "Emperor" and all the kids were separated by a sort of caste system ("Lords," "Darths," "Sith Warriors," "Jabas," and "Speds" for the special- education kids). The Post printed some of the rules:

As hereby proclaimed by Emperor Mike of the Death Cheese Bus, unit five, sector seven of the gamma system, these laws are laid down upon us to hold order and restore power. The penalty for breaking this code is banishment. And for a ranking of master or above, the penalty is death or severe beating.

11:05 AM

Recording Industry vs The People: Marie Lindor to Move for Summary Judgment:

Marie Lindor, a home health aide who has never bought, used, or even turned on a computer in her life, but was nevertheless sued by the RIAA in Brooklyn federal court for using an "online distribution system" to "download, distribute, and/or make available for distribution" plaintiff's music files, has requested a pre-motion conference in anticipation of making a summary judgment motion dismissing the complaint and awarding her attorneys fees under the Copyright Act.

11:02 AM

Recording Industry vs The People: Marie Lindor to Move for Summary Judgment:

Marie Lindor, a home health aide who has never bought, used, or even turned on a computer in her life, but was nevertheless sued by the RIAA in Brooklyn federal court for using an "online distribution system" to "download, distribute, and/or make available for distribution" plaintiff's music files, has requested a pre-motion conference in anticipation of making a summary judgment motion dismissing the complaint and awarding her attorneys fees under the Copyright Act.

11:02 AM

Thursday, February 02, 2006

2:22 PM

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

1:50 PM

My article in February's WIRED on a production of Hedda Gabbler featuring roles played by robots is available for reading here. Check it out--should be a wild ride.
1:42 PM

LiveScience.com - Era Ends: Western Union Stops Sending Telegrams:

After 145 years, Western Union has quietly stopped sending telegrams.

On the company's web site, if you click on "Telegrams" in the left-side navigation bar, you're taken to a page that ends a technological era with about as little fanfare as possible:

"Effective January 27, 2006, Western Union will discontinue all Telegram and Commercial Messaging services. We regret any inconvenience this may cause you, and we thank you for your loyal patronage. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact a customer service representative."

The decline of telegram use goes back at least to the 1980s, when long-distance telephone service became cheap enough to offer a viable alternative in many if not most cases. Faxes didn't help. Email could be counted as the final nail in the coffin.

12:43 PM

In his State of the Union, Bush spelled out a clear agenda: Win the midterms:

On domestic issues, Bush brought his laundry list, but didn't have any quarters left for the Laundromat. The issue that Republicans in Congress fear most, political corruption, drew three glancing sentences late in Bush's speech. The president expressed more interest in the First Lady's Helping America's Youth Initiative.

Even Bush's oil addiction recovery program turns out to be mostly faith-based. The president got to step one with "America is addicted to oil," but didn't have the breath to start scaling the rest of the 12 steps. As the Washington Post points out, on renewable energy research, Bush is merely proposing to restore the funding he has cut since he took office.

6:19 AM

6:18 AM

Bush's surprisingly partisan speech:

George Bush didn't go through a recovery program when he quit drinking, but surely he knows that the first step to shucking any dependency is admitting the problem. In his big speech, he attempted to do just that when he delivered the evening's most memorable line, "America is addicted to oil."

This was a switch from May of 2001 when Ari Fleischer, the president's spokesman, said that the right to consume massive energy resources was "an American way of life." I wasn't expecting any great departure after hearing Bush advisers and allies talk all day about "security" and "optimism" and about how the president was going to "change the tone" (again). But Bush did change the subject, at least a bit. Tomorrow we're all going to be talking about the "cellulosic ethanol" from corn stalks and "switch grass."

On the other hand, Bush put his case in a very Bushian way, presenting it as a pain-free alternative to the awful status quo. Only the corn stalk will suffer as we remake a huge sector of the economy and convert to clean, politically innocent fuel sources. None of us have to trade in our SUV's, drive less, or turn down the thermostat. The president says that in six years cars using the new ethanol will be competitive with gas-burning ones. By 2025, he pledges, America can reduce its dependence on Middle Eastern oil by 75 percent. His aides argue that technology makes this all possible. It sounds too good to be true, and almost certainly is.

6:17 AM

McSweeney's Internet Tendency: Troubling Tyra Mails Censored From Aired Episodes of America's Next Top Model.:

- - - -

Models must not fear death. To become America's Next Top Model, you'll have to learn to stop a moving train with only your gaunt bodies and a tube of Cover Girl lip-gloss. Call your loved ones before 9:00 a.m. tomorrow. —Tyra

- - - -

Tomorrow you will know the wrath of God and feel the fury of the heavens raining down upon thee. What you learned about runway walking might come in handy. Be ready at 7:00 a.m. —Tyra

- - - -

I never understood why criminals are able to lift weights and get really strong while incarcerated. The van will be outside at 9:00 a.m. —Tyra

3:48 AM

Weinsteins060130 1 198
3:39 AM

I find your lack of faith disturbing: Le Broken Clock, Part Two:

I do believe in poker. I was addicted to cards, and so I quit. But they converted me to their ways. I believe in math, random chance, probability, and mostly, luck. Professional card players understand that poker is short-term luck (good and bad) eventually balanced out by long-term skill. Living, more likely, is long-term luck balanced out with occasional bouts of short-term skill. In this case, the luck is all mine and the skill belongs to those who found my tumor and took it out.

I did not fight cancer and I certainly did not beat cancer. One night cancer came and grabbed me hard by the arm, yanked me down the stairs and stood over me on the landing while I begged for mercy and waited for the rain of blows to come. Some did, enough for me to know I couldn't have withstood the whole barrage.

And then without explanation it disappeared. And let me live. Like some monsters do.

Thank you everybody.

2:29 AM

Andrew Sullivan | The Daily Dish: SOTU Email II:

In his 2003 SOTU, Bush talked up hydrogen-powered cars, proposing a total of $1.7 billion over the following five years to develop hydrogen-powered fuel cells, hydrogen infrastructure and advanced automotive technologies. If he wants to lend some substance to the platitude you quoted about breaking our addiction to oil through technology, he should bring us up-to-date on just what that initiative has accomplished in the past three years.

I haven't heard anything about it of late. I have, however, heard that Exxon is reaping the largest profits ever earned by an American company. I wonder how much of that money they're plowing into R&D on hydrogen power.

2:11 AM

1:23 AM

Best. Valentines. Evar.


SVUtines available here.
1:22 AM

Cuddlepuddle060130 1 570B

The Cuddle Puddle of Stuyvesant High School:

Researchers find it shocking that 11 percent of American girls between 15 and 19 claim to have same-sex encounters. Clearly they’ve never observed the social rituals of the pansexual, bi-queer, metroflexible New York teen.
1:06 AM

Boing Boing: EFF suing AT&T for helping NSA illegally spy on Americans:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is suing AT&T for rolling over and helping the National Security Agency execute illegal warrantless wiretaps against American citizens:

AT&T Corp. (which was recently acquired by the new AT&T, Inc,. formerly known as SBC Communications) maintains domestic telecommunications facilities over which millions of Americans' telephone and Internet communications pass every day. It also manages some of the largest databases in the world, containing records of most or all communications made through its myriad telecommunications services.

The lawsuits alleges that AT&T Corp. has opened its key telecommunications facilities and databases to direct access by the NSA and/or other government agencies, thereby disclosing to the government the contents of its customers' communications as well as detailed communications records about millions of its customers, including the lawsuit's class members.

12:57 AM

12:48 AM

Gonzales Is Challenged on Wiretaps:

Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) charged yesterday that Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales misled the Senate during his confirmation hearing a year ago when he appeared to try to avoid answering a question about whether the president could authorize warrantless wiretapping of U.S. citizens.

12:44 AM