Hanlon's razor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Hanlon's razor, a corollary of Finagle's law, is an adage which reads: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity. Also worded as: Never assume malice when stupidity will suffice.
The Washington Monthly:
Half of Americans now say Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the United States invaded the country in 2003 — up from 36 percent last year....In addition, 64 percent say Saddam had "strong links" with al Qaeda....Fifty-five percent said that "history will give the U.S. credit for bringing freedom and democracy to Iraq."....American confidence in the Iraqis has improved: 37 percent said Iraq would succeed in creating a stable democracy, up five points since November.
Battery-Fueled Car Will Smoke You:
"You see any cops?" Eberhard asks, shooting me a mischievous look. The car is vibrating, ready to launch. I'm the first journalist to get a ride.
He releases the brake and my head snaps back. One-one-thousand: I get a floating feeling, like going over the falls in a roller coaster. Two-one-thousand: The world tunnels, the trees blur. Three-one-thousand: We hit 60 miles per hour. Eberhard brakes. We're at a standstill again -- elapsed time, nine seconds. When potential buyers get a look at the vehicle this summer, it will be among the quickest production cars in the world. And, compared to other supercars like the Bugatti Veyron, Ferrari Enzo, and Lamborghini Diablo, it's a bargain. More intriguing: It has no combustion engine.
The trick? The Tesla Roadster is powered by 6,831 rechargeable lithium-ion batteries -- the same cells that run a laptop computer. Range: 250 miles. Fuel efficiency: 1 to 2 cents per mile. Top speed: more than 130 mph. The first cars will be built at a factory in England and are slated to hit the market next summer. And Tesla Motors, Eberhard's company, is already gearing up for a four-door battery-powered sedan.
WA Supremes: Some Children Are More Equal Than Others:
But it seems that heterosexuals—so essential to the survival of the human race (Keep breeding, heteros! There just aren’t enough us on the planet!)—need to be afforded special rights. Without the exclusive right to marriage, the court assumes that heterosexuals could not be bothered to produce offspring at all—or, once they’ve produced them, could not be bothered to care for them.
Reading on, it seems the the WA Supremes are siding with the fundies: Homosexuality, they arque, is not an “immutable characteristic”—in other, and more familiar words, the WA Supremes believe that homosexuality is a choice, and, what’s more, gay men and lesbians are not discriminated against because we are free to marry opposite-sex partners whenever we like.
Days We Would Rather Know
There are days we would rather know
than these, as there is always, later,
a wife we would rather have married
than whom we did, in that severe nowness
time pushed, imperfectly, to then. Whether,
standing in the museum before Rembrandt's "Juno,"
we stand before beauty, or only before a consensus
about beauty, is a question that makes all beauty
suspect ... and all marriages. Last night,
leaves circled the base of the ginkgo as if
the sun had shattered during the night
into a million gold coins no one had the sense
to claim. And now, there are days we would
rather know than these, days when to stand
before beauty and before "Juno" are, convincingly,
the same, days when the shattered sunlight
seeps through the trees and the women we marry
stay interesting and beautiful both at once,
and their men. And though there are days
we would rather know than now, I am,
at heart, a scared and simple man. So I tighten
my arms around the woman I love, now
and imperfectly, stand before "Juno" whispering
beautiful beautiful until I believe it, and --
when I come home at night -- I run out
into the day's pale dusk with my broom
and my dustpan, sweeping the coins from the base
of the ginkgo, something to keep for a better tomorrow:
days we would rather know that never come.
I had heard that Demetri was working with Microsoft, but I didn't know on what—but this ostensible viral ad campaign has his fingerprints all over it.
Can't say it works for me, but I love the Regina Spektor tune, so it's not all bad.
Daring Fireball: Magic 8-Ball Answers Your Questions Regarding Microsoft's 'Zune':
Q: So in other words, this has all the hallmarks of a good old-fashioned Microsoft vaporware campaign: wildly optimistic ship date (“this November”) and a laundry list of features missing from the iPod and iTunes (Wi-Fi, social networking, a video game mode, adjustable faceplates, and maybe even Sirius and/or XM satellite radio). I’ll bet it will ship on schedule, with all those features, and will be lightweight, thin, and get great battery life.
A: VERY DOUBTFUL.
Q: I was being sarcastic.
Andrew Sullivan | The Daily Dish: Losing Iraq:
from an American soldier in Northern Iraq:
Baghdad has descended into complete anarchy, as near as I can tell. We have police investigators in Northern Iraq who are scared to drive down there to attend an IPS investigator's course for fear that they will be stopped by Sunni or Shia checkpoints and killed. And these guys are police! I imagine the situation is terrible for ordinary citizens.
This is the dark side of the big shift in the U.S. strategy/presence over the last year. As we've reduced our forces, disengaged from the cities, and consolidated on massive super-FOBs like Balad and Camp Victory, we have lost the ability to impose our will on the streets of Iraq. At this point, I don't know how effective U.S. forces can/will be in imposing order. We just don't have the combat power, nor the presence in the city, nor the right mix of constabulary and civil affairs units. It's frustrating.
The Fix | Salon Arts & Entertainment:
Samuel L. Jackson on how starring in "Snakes on a Plane" may finally erase the catchphrase legacy that's haunted him since his "Pulp Fiction" days: "If people can stop yelling do I know what a quarter-pounder with cheese in France is called and start yelling get these motherfucking snakes off the motherfucking plane, I'll be fine, I'll be great."
Marshals: Innocent People Placed On 'Watch List' To Meet Quota:
You could be on a secret government database or watch list for simply taking a picture on an airplane. Some federal air marshals say they're reporting your actions to meet a quota, even though some top officials deny it.
The air marshals, whose identities are being concealed, told 7NEWS that they're required to submit at least one report a month. If they don't, there's no raise, no bonus, no awards and no special assignments.
"Innocent passengers are being entered into an international intelligence database as suspicious persons, acting in a suspicious manner on an aircraft ... and they did nothing wrong," said one federal air marshal.
'Zombies' arrested in downtown Minneapolis:
Six friends spruced up in fake blood and tattered clothing were arrested in downtown Minneapolis on suspicion of toting "simulated weapons of mass destruction."
Police said the group were allegedly carrying bags with wires sticking out, making it look like a bomb, while meandering and dancing to music as part of a "zombie dance party" Saturday night.
OFFICIAL CATHOLIC PRAYER BEFORE LOGGING ONTO THE INTERNET
Almighty and eternal God, who created us in Thy image and bade us to seek
after all that is good, true and beautiful, especially in the divine person
of Thy only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant we beseech Thee that,
through the intercession of Saint Isidore, bishop and doctor, during our
journeys through the internet we will direct our hands and eyes only to that
which is pleasing to Thee and treat with charity and patience all those
souls whom we encounter. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Leverage - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Leverage is related to force; leverage is a factor by which lever multiplies a force. The useful work done is the energy applied, which is force times distance. Therefore a small force applied over a long distance is the same amount of work as a large force applied over a small distance. The trick is converting the one into the other. The requisite mathematics was developed in the third century BC by Archimedes.
The simplest device for creating leverage is the lever. A lever is a stick which rests on a fulcrum near one end. When you push the long end of the stick down a long ways, the short end moves a small distance up with great force. With this device a man can easily lift several times his own weight.
WikiHome - JotSpot Wiki (continuouspartialattention):
What is continuous partial attention?
Continuous partial attention describes how many of us use our attention today. It is different from multi-tasking. The two are differentiated by the impulse that motivates them. When we multi-task, we are motivated by a desire to be more productive and more efficient. We're often doing things that are automatic, that require very little cognitive processing. We give the same priority to much of what we do when we multi-task -- we file and copy papers, talk on the phone, eat lunch -- we get as many things done at one time as we possibly can in order to make more time for ourselves and in order to be more efficient and more productive.
To pay continuous partial attention is to pay partial attention -- CONTINUOUSLY. It is motivated by a desire to be a LIVE node on the network. Another way of saying this is that we want to connect and be connected. We want to effectively scan for opportunity and optimize for the best opportunities, activities, and contacts, in any given moment. To be busy, to be connected, is to be alive, to be recognized, and to matter.
We pay continuous partial attention in an effort NOT TO MISS ANYTHING. It is an always-on, anywhere, anytime, any place behavior that involves an artificial sense of constant crisis. We are always in high alert when we pay continuous partial attention. This artificial sense of constant crisis is more typical of continuous partial attention than it is of multi-tasking.
Everything I Needed to Know About Journalism, I Learned from Jayson Blair:
So there I sit -- legs squeezed beneath a cafeteria table, stuffing my mouth with cake and listening to Jayson Blair explain why my college transcript, my newspaper clips, and my Bachelor's degree in Journalism are all utterly worthless.
"I understand," he says. "People tell you your whole life to get good grades and go to a good school because that's how you get ahead."
"And?" I ask
"And it's a lie," he laughs, shaking his head.
This wasn't how the week was supposed to end.
Jessy Delfino's Blog:
As an unconventional person, I rarely do things conventionally, nor do opportunities or experiences present themselves to me in a "normal" manner. I sent a film to the Montreal "Just For Laughs" festival a few months ago and forgot about it. A few weeks ago, JFL contacted me and told me my film had been accepted into the Comedia film portion of the festival, and I was invited to come with full accreditation, (which is the fancy way of saying "you get a badge") and even perform some live songs at the showing of the film, if I liked.
Unlike many festival comedians, I was not being flown in on a fancy jet plane, costs covered, or being put up by the festival in the regal Hotel Delta, comedy ground zero if you will, where all industry and talent converge in a vortex of hope, desire and disappointment, laden with excessive amounts of alcohol. No, I did it Delfino-style: I took the drive up to Burlington with my friends who happened to be going there anyway, and then hitch-hiked from Burlington to Montreal.
Self-Aggrandizement: kick start:
Very recently, however, I've discovered a way that I can trick myself into listening to the smarter part: I schedule, on the half hour, tiny little increments of work, then let myself go back to 'productively' goofing off as soon as I've done each little increment, at least until the next half hour mark chimes.
Let's say, as I did earlier today, that I have thirty theaters I need to call to check their base screen rental rates. I'll sit down and break the list into chunks of three or four theaters, and list them out over the afternoon. These four at 1:00, these three at 1:30, etc. I've found it works the best to set the first chunk about ten, fifteen minutes in the future.
Holy reclaimed afternoon, Batman! Somehow I've gone from a day where my brain seemed permanently out to lunch to one where I'm startlingly productive.
gladwell dot com - listening to khakis:
This is a remarkable fact for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that the Dockers campaign was aimed at men, and no one had ever thought you could hit a home run like that by trying to sell fashion to the American male. Not long ago, two psychologists at York University, in Toronto-Irwin Silverman and Marion Eals-conducted an experiment in which they had men and women sit in an office for two minutes, without any reading material or distraction, while they ostensibly waited to take part in some kind of academic study. Then they were taken from the office and given the real reason for the experiment: to find out how many of the objects in the office they could remember. This was not a test of memory so much as it was a test of awareness-of the kind and quality of unconscious attention that people pay to the particulars of their environment. If you think about it, it was really a test of fashion sense, because, at its root, this is what fashion sense really is-the ability to register and appreciate and remember the details of the way those around you look and dress, and then reinterpret those details and memories yourself.
When the results of the experiment were tabulated, it was found that the women were able to recall the name and the placement of seventy per cent more objects than the men, which makes perfect sense. Women's fashion, after all, consists of an endless number of subtle combinations and variations-of skirt, dress, pants, blouse, T-shirt, hose, pumps, flats, heels, necklace, bracelet, cleavage, collar, curl, and on and on-all driven by the fact that when a woman walks down the street she knows that other women, consciously or otherwise, will notice the name and the placement of what she is wearing. Fashion works for women because women can appreciate its complexity. But when it comes to men what's the point? How on earth do you sell fashion to someone who has no appreciation for detail whatsoever?
And the fourth wall crumbles:
What Los Angeles is not known for is audiences who shout at the stage in reaction to political content. But such has been the case at the Geffen Playhouse in recent weeks for Sam Shepard's left-leaning political farce "The God of Hell," running through next Sunday at the Westwood venue.
During the July 12 evening performance, according to theater staff reports, a gentleman leapt to his feet and, at the top of his lungs, began hurling epithets at the stage, including "communist bastards," "pigs" and "slimeballs," before being escorted out of the theater.
Other audience members responded to the outburst by standing or applauding. And when the show was over, a woman who was returning her listening device politely asked: "Was that part of the play?"
Representatives of downtown's Mark Taper Forum reported similarly extreme behavior last summer at some performances of David Hare's "Stuff Happens," a multicharacter drama that starred Keith Carradine as George W. Bush and dissected events leading to U.S. involvement in Iraq.
A monologue by an actor portraying a Palestinian scholar who criticizes U.S. support for Israel was one of the hot buttons. A theater spokesman reports that at one performance, four audience members ripped up their programs, stormed out of the auditorium and confronted an actor who was making an entrance through the house. At an earlier performance, two other patrons disrupted proceedings by shouting that the monologue was "all lies."
We're irrationally exuberant about alternative energy—but that's good:
So, why isn't anyone panicking? In 2001 and 2002, when the postmortems of the dot-com era were written, it was easy to declare the whole thing a failure and a scam. But with the passage of time, another picture has emerged. In a process that has repeated itself throughout history—with the railroad and telegraph, for example—investment bubbles frequently kick-start new industries and leave behind innovations and commercial infrastructure that others can use. The fiber-optic cable and dot-com business infrastructure that was rolled out in the 1990s wasn't simply abandoned. Second-generation entrepreneurs and companies have used it to great effect. The excessive investment in infrastructure may have set off ruinous price wars in 2000. But it also led to the swift rollout of broadband and sharply reduced prices of Web-hosting and data transmission. Google, MySpace, Flickr, YouTube, and iTunes—all these highly successful, quality-of-life-improving businesses—were built on the wreckage of the dot-com era. As consumers, investors, and workers, in other words, we've all been enriched by the fruits of the dot-com boom. It just took a while.
"Lady in the Water" | Salon Arts & Entertainment:
Up-front, I must tell you that by reading this, you may encounter a spoiler or two, not because I want to wreck any potential surprises in "Lady in the Water," but because I no longer have any idea what constitutes a surprise in a Shyamalan movie. The fact that Bruce Willis, in "The Sixth Sense," was actually dead -- OK, that I got. But in "Signs," when the alien turned out to be a tall, faceless extra tiptoeing around Mel Gibson's living room in stretchy PJs -- one who could be vanquished by a bucket of water -- I lost all faith in Shyamalan's alleged mastery of the surprise-shockeroo plot twist.
I believe the chicken before the egg
though I believe in the egg. I believe
eating is a form of touch carried
to the bitter end; I believe chocolate
is good for you; I believe I'm a lefty
in a right-handed world, which does not
make me gauche, or abnormal, or sinister.
I believe "normal" is just a cycle on
the washing machine; I believe the touch
of hands has the power to heal, though
nothing will ever fill this immeasurable
hole in the center of my chest. I believe
in kissing; I believe in mail; I believe
in salt over the shoulder, a watched
pot never boils, and if I sit by my
mailbox waiting for the letter I want
it will never arrive -- not because of
superstition, but because that's not
how life works. I believe in work:
phone calls, typing, multiplying,
black coffee, write write write, dig
dig dig, sweep sweep. I believe in
a slow, tortuous sweep of tongue
down the lover's belly; I believe I've
been swept off my feet more than once
and it's a good idea not to name names.
Digging for names is part of my work,
but that's a different poem. I believe
there's a difference between men and
women and I thank God for it. I believe
in God, and if you hold the door
and carry my books, I'll be sure to ask
for your name. What is your name? Do
you believe in ghosts? I believe
the morning my father died I heard him
whistling "Danny Boy" in the bathroom,
and a week later saw him standing in
the living room with a suitcase in his
hand. We never got to say good-bye, he
said, and I said I don't believe in
good-byes. I believe that's why I have
this hole in my chest; sometimes it's
rabid; sometimes it's incoherent. I
believe I'll survive. I believe that
"early to bed and early to rise" is
a boring way to live. I believe good
poets borrow, great poets steal, and
if only we'd stop trying to be happy
we could have a pretty good time. I
believe time doesn't heal all wounds;
I believe in getting flowers for no
reason; I believe "Give a Hoot, Don't
Pollute," "Reading is Fundamental,"
Yankee Stadium belongs in the Bronx,
and the best bagels in New York are
boiled and baked on the corner of First
and 21st. I believe in Santa
Claus, Jimmy Stewart, ZuZu's petals,
Arbor Day, and that ugly baby I keep
dreaming about -- she lives inside me
opening and closing her wide mouth.
I believe she will never taste her
mother's milk; she will never be
beautiful; she will always wonder what
it's like to be born; and if you hold
your hand right here -- touch me right
here, as if this is all that matters,
this is all you ever wanted, I believe
something might move inside me,
and it would be more than I could stand.
Israel Hastily Musters Its Citizen Army:
Roy Bass emerged from the Mediterranean waves at noon Friday for a Popsicle break when, surfboard in hand, he heard his cell phone ringing on the beach. It was a recorded message: "An emergency draft has been activated."
Four hours later, the 27-year-old computer programmer was at an army base, in full uniform, preparing to head to Israel's northern border, where troops were massing to take on Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.
In London This Summer, the Hot New Play Is an Endangered Species - New York Times:
The subject was appropriate to a show that bore a crippling messianic burden. Much of the program for “On the Third Day” was devoted to an essay and statistics detailing the decline of the straight play in commercial theaters on the West End. Most telling was a comparative breakdown of the offerings of 1956 (when 23 plays were produced, including 8 new dramas and 2 revivals) and those of this year, a half-century later (11 plays, including 5 revivals, 1 new drama and 2 adaptations of novels).
BuzzMachine » Blog Archive » Too many journalists:
But sitting on another darned panel yesterday, Chrystia Freeland, ME of the FT in the US, said it better than I have. We were singing two-party harmony as I wondered why every newspaper needs a movie critic when the movies aren’t local and she questioned the need for the Miami Herald to have its own Moscow bureau — back in the heyday when she was reporting there herself — to get that apparently unique Miami view of the USSR.
Then she said that news is “an industry with a lot of oversupply that is now exposed.” I liked that hard economic talk about the business. It reminds us that we are an industry and need to reexamine our business assumptions like every other industry.
Bargain of the Day:
You can order any book ever published at the customer desk of B&N and they will ship it to your local store, and you will still have no obligation to buy. You can peruse it (or read it in its entirety) right there in the store. This is a very common activity according to numerous B&N employees, and one that's not even frowned upon.
Naomi Campbell Is Arrested, Frightened Police Let Her Go - Gawker:
In case you're wondering who or what Naomi Campbell's been beating lately, the abusive model -- who's dealing with three lawsuits from former assistants -- recently caused $54,000 worth of damage to the luxury yacht belonging to her then-boyfriend Badr Jafar. It was really all the chef's fault, you see, as his "tomato, mozzarella and dried ham starter with white wine" failed to please Campbell, who announced the culinary failure with a heated verbal reprimand that quickly became a shouting match. The chef made the mistake of screaming back, which obviously meant that Campbell had to throw plates and rip apart cushions and curtains. As this ultimately caused $54,000 worth of damage to Jafar's boat, Campbell and her beau have since parted ways the only way Campbell knows how -- with a police presence.
The Wrong Tail - How to turn a powerful idea into a dubious theory of everything:
Chris Anderson's The Long Tail does something that only the best books do—uncovers a phenomenon that's undeniably going on and makes clear sense of it. Anderson, the Wired editor-in-chief who first wrote about the Long Tail concept in 2004, had two moments of genius: He visualized the demand for certain products as a "power curve," and he came up with a catchy phrase to go with his observation. Like most good ideas, the Long Tail attaches to your mind and gets stuck there. Everything you take in—cult blogs, alternative music, festival films—starts looking like the Long Tail in action. But that's also the problem. The Long Tail theory is so catchy it can overgrow its useful boundaries. Unfortunately, Anderson's book exacerbates this problem. When you put it down, there's one question you won't be able to answer: When, exactly, doesn't the Long Tail matter?
Windows Genuine Advantage: An Overview and Screenshot Gallery:
Aside from basic trust issues--Apple, for example, does not burden users with Product Activation or any similar anti-piracy technologies in its Mac OS X operating system--Microsoft made two major mistakes with WGA. The first was to silently post a beta version of the tool to Windows Update as a Critical Update, thus ensuring that it was quietly and underhandedly installed on hundreds of millions of customers' PCs: I mean, seriously. Is Microsoft honestly making guinea pigs out of its entire user base?
The second mistake was that WGA Notifications was also "phoning home" information to Microsoft on a regular basis. That's right: Not only was the software secretly installed on your PC, but it then regularly contacted Microsoft servers and provided them with data about the instances of pirated and nonpirated software out there. Customers and security experts reacted with alarm, as well they should: Microsoft had literally shipped spyware to its customers. Microsoft, meanwhile, reacted as they often do when something like this happens: They made as if nothing serious had happened and acted shocked that anyone could think otherwise. So much for the Glasnost of the consent decree.
By Ken Levine: Pirates of the Caribbean:
But my big problem was this – what the fuck was going on?? There’s this ship of slime pirates, and then a map, and a bad guy from the last movie gets hired on the ship, and Keira Knightley is stowing away on another ship, and then some Voodoo lady who’s been eating licorice offers cryptic advice, and there’s a dice game that makes no sense, and Keira’s dress is floating in the water and that is supposed to mean something, and Orlando Bloom’s clothes never get dirty, and they capture a little monkey for some reason, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon visits Jack one night, and Jonathon Pryce complains about wearing a wig, and it’s real important Jack keeps a jar of dirt, and there’s a three-way sword fight between Jack, Orlando Bloom and the bad guy from the last movie where they’re all accusing each other of things more confusing than any BIG SLEEP plot point, then they cut back to the George Washington looking guy who I hadn’t seen in a half an hour and completely forgot about and he’s …I dunno where, plotting something, I dunno what…and Jack’s palm gets black then it goes away then it comes back again, and he makes a deal with Octopus Beard Guy to do something in three days – I have no idea what -- or he has to give over 99 souls – not sure how one does that, and gorgeous Keira Knightley is forced to wear a pirate hat, and there’s a magic compass that always points to Disneyworld or something, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon turns out to be Orlando Bloom’s father and has a starfish attached to his face that he never thinks to remove, and cannon balls blast through Jack’s ship but it somehow never leaks, and many of our characters get caught in this giant runaway wooden wheel that looks like a prop from last year’s Reward Challenge on SURVIVOR, and there seems to be a rum shortage, and Jack does something good so Keira Knightley hand cuffs him, and Octopus Beard Guy can sometimes grow to the size of Catalina, and for all his slime no one on his ship slips while walking on the deck, and there are Red Coats for some reason, and letters of transit or a pardon in a leather case, and after all that NOTHING IS RESOLVED.
"In some ways, people are a lot like animals. I'm mesmerized by tigers. Their eyes, their stripes, their constant quest for survival. They almost have a sense of mysteriousness about them. They pull you in and make it difficult to look away. They make you wonder what is behind their gaze. A sense of eerie awe comes over you in their presence. The fear they give you when you pass them is stunning. Behold the beauty of the tiger."
Britney Spears essay on tigers, found on her website
All shook up over Dakota's 'Hounddog':
The screenplay for "Hounddog" - a dark story of abuse, violence and Elvis Presley adulation in the rural South, written and directed by Deborah Kampmeier - calls for Fanning's character to be raped in one explicit scene and to appear naked or clad only in "underpants" in several other horrifying moments.
Fanning's mother, Joy, and her Hollywood agent, Cindy Osbrink, see the movie as a possible Oscar vehicle for the pint-size star. But despite Fanning's status as a bankable actress - whose movies, including last year's "War of the Worlds," have earned more than half a billion dollars since 2001 - the alarming material seems to have scared off potential investors from the under-$5 million indie project.
"The two taboos in Hollywood are child abuse and the killing of animals," a source close to the situation told me. "In this movie, both things happen."
BEFORE THE DVD (which I'd expect in about two weeks, after the stink clears from theaters), you can already preview more of Shyamalan's pre-emptive P.R. campaign on Amazon.com, where there's a five- minute video clip of him reading from the children's picture book version of Lady in the Water. "I wanted to say 'Hi' to all the Amazon.com customers," he begins. (Not readers, kids, parents, book lovers, or fairy-tale enthusiasts, but customers—how shrewdly we're assessed.) He goes on to explain how, when spinning the original story to his daughters, "It went on and on for days and days. It grew into this kind of obsessive feature of our household." I'll say. Rarely do artists speak with such candor. Apparently by stringing together a bunch of Jabberwocky nonsense words and warm notions of a better tomorrow . . . if you just keep talking . . . the kids will eventually fall asleep! Better still, you've created an adult masterwork in the process, like Picasso picking up the bar tab with a napkin doodle. Get me Disney on the phone! I've got a script to sell!
Did Thomas Pynchon post on his Amazon page? By Troy Patterson:
Was this a hoax? A jump-the-gun glitch? A hype? In any event, one Amazon customer must have gone through his Web browser's cache and reposted the thing on the customer discussion board, touching off an instant classic of that kind of chatter where M.F.A. meets LSD. The following comments are fairly typical: "I am saying that the blurb is Pynchon parroting Pynchon … viral-marketing or, more hopefully, a Swiftian self-parody and critique of Internet subcultures (a sort of new, updated Tale of a Tub.)" Whee!
Slashdot | Pharaoh's Gem Brighter Than a Thousand Suns:
An Italian archaeologist accidentally found that the central gem in Tutankhamun's regal necklace is not amber, but a mere piece of yellow glass. Kinda cheap for the famous Egyptian pharaoh, best known for his splendid golden mask. Except that piece of glass is much older than civilization. Where did it come from, StarGate? Kind of. Scientists now think a meteorite much larger than the Tunguska event fell from the sky and exploded over the Sahara in prehistoric times. The tremendous heat of the 1000 A-bomb sized fireball melted large chunks of desert sand into perfect glass. The memory of such an apocalyptic event may have made sand-glass gems a desirable symbol, meant to emphasize the pharaoh's heavenly powers.
WALLY: And I mean, you know, it’s the same with any kind of prophecy or sign or an omen, because if you believe in omens, then that means that the universe—I mean, I don’t even know how to begin to describe this—that means that the future is somehow sending messages backwards to the present! Which means that the future must exist in some sense already in order to be able to send these messages. And it also means that things in the universe are there for a purpose: to give us messages. Whereas I think that things in the universe are just there. I mean, they don’t mean anything. I mean, you know, if the turtle’s egg falls out of the tree and splashes on the paving stones, it’s just because that turtle was clumsy, by accident. And to decide whether to send my ships off to war on the basis of that seems a big mistake to me.
ANDRE: Well, what information would you send your ships to war on? Because if it’s all meaningless, what’s the difference whether you accept the fortune cookie or the statistics of the Ford foundation? It doesn’t seem to matter.
From My Dinner With Andre
youtube is not mytube:
...a change in their terms of service gives them the power to do what they want with your content. Not good. I just deleted all videos I cared about -- I don't want them making a buck off me or selling my content for advertising/whatever, fuck that. Yes you retain rights *after* the fact, but they don't have to tell you before they use your content. I had subscribers too, which is a bummer. Check out what other blogs are saying, snip:
"YouTube has recently revised their Terms & Conditions which now allow them to sell whatever you upload there however they want:
'...by submitting the User Submissions to YouTube, you hereby grant YouTube a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the User Submissions in connection with the YouTube Website and YouTube's (and its successor's) business... in any media formats and through any media channels.'
What this means is if you upload your web series to their servers they can now sell DVDs of it, merchandise it and probably even make a Hollywood version of it - and you don't get a cent. These rights can also be transferred to anyone who buys YouTube, which is very possible since its incredible site traffic (100+ million videos a day) makes it an attractive acquistion target and the company currently isn't making any money for its owners."
Guardian Unlimited Arts | Arts features | Take that as a warning:
According to legend, the Royal Shakespeare Company once posted a warning to audiences: "This production contains real fire." Whether the promise was fulfilled in all senses, it certainly set a trend. Theatres' entrances are now festooned with cautions, some addressing health and safety issues, others more concerned with matters of taste and decency. As illuminating as what managements choose to warn against is what they choose not to.
So, earlier this year, Sam West's revival in Sheffield of The Romans in Britain alerted audiences to stage smoke, but not to the nudity and rape that are the play's most notorious feature. By contrast, the Oxford Stage Company's current reworking of Paradise Lost does warn about strobe lights and "scenes of nudity", but doesn't mention the smoke (which is, in fact, likely to be a water-based haze effect, more accurately described as "fog"). Notices outside Fuerzabruta at the Roundhouse in Camden mention strobe effects too; but, amid a massive, exhilarating and alarming assault on the senses from all directions, I don't see how you're supposed to pick them out.
"These Boys and Girls Are Not Spare Parts.":
In his statement prior to vetoing legislation passed by Congress that would expand embryonic stem-cell research today (media were barred from the actual signing ceremony), President Bush revealed his utter contempt for science and his willful ignorance of what actually becomes of most of these so-called little boys and girls.
Surrounded by cheering Republican supporters, Bush called individual embryos “unique human life with inherent dignity and matchless value. These boys and girls are not spare parts.”
An embryo is not a child. It is a cluster of cells smaller than the period at the end of this sentence. Only about 10 percent of embryos left over from in-vitro fertilization are implanted and ultimately adopted; the rest are treated as medical waste and discarded.
Wired News: The Curse of Storage:
Having a photo of something was as satisfying as owning it, sometimes more so. In 2000, when I moved into a tiny apartment in New York's Chinatown, I began a habit that continues to this day: I rented a Manhattan Mini Storage unit and stashed 90 percent of my "permanent collection" out of sight and out of mind. I became an iceberg, with most of my cultural weight hidden below the waterline. Without my past around me, I felt younger, more buoyant. And yet I never quite had the courage to jettison everything. That's the curse of storage!
If storage is in crisis, it's because the web has become everything a library used to be. The web is something like the Aleph that Jorge Luis Borges talked about, the point in space that contains all other points, and from which everything can be seen clearly. It's the "window on the world" McLuhan told us every dominant medium pretends to be -- and of course betrays us by never quite becoming.
WSJ.com - For Some Netflix Users, Red Envelopes Gather Dust:
Netflix Inc., which boasts nearly five million members, often trumpets how its all-you-can-eat rental model is changing the way people are watching movies. But Netflix may also be changing the way people don't watch them. Through its Web site, Netflix makes it easy to comb through a massive catalog of 60,000 films. It offers access to everything from Charlie Chaplin's 1921 silent tramp movie "The Kid" to recent Academy Award-winners like "Crash." And some members admit that when browsing the Netflix backlog, they overestimate their appetite for off-the-beaten-track films. The result: Sometimes DVDs languish for months without being watched.
"It's a paradox of abundance," said Siva Vaidhyanathan, a professor of culture and communication at New York University. If people aren't pressured to see a movie in a specific time frame, he said, viewers tend to put it lower on their priority list. "When you have every choice in front of you, you have less urgency about any particular choice," he added.
Netflix officials declined to disclose data on how often movies are shipped or what types of movies tend to be returned quickly, citing competitive concerns. But a company spokesman said the fact that some people let movies linger for months before watching them, doesn't hurt its business.
Researchers have documented this behavior among movie-watchers. In a 1999 experiment, a group of volunteers were asked to choose movies to rent from a list of 24 videos. Their options were a mix of what researchers termed "low-brow" movies -- including "My Cousin Vinny" and "Groundhog Day" -- and "high-brow" offerings, such as "Schindler's List" or the subtitled "Like Water for Chocolate." The researchers found that when people chose movies to watch the same day, they often picked comedies or action films. But when they were asked to pick movies to watch at a later date, they were more likely to make "high-brow" selections.
For example, the subjects were much more likely to select Steven Spielberg's Holocaust survival drama "Schindler's List" to watch in the future, rather than on the same night. "It's a movie that's really miserable to watch but you feel like you should watch it," said George Loewenstein, a professor of economics and psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, one of the study's authors.
Meerkats Inc. - The new, sexier Animal Planet:
No, the thing is that, having trained her cats to watch Animal Planet, my friend leaves it on for them when she exits her apartment. Is this the new thing? Television so addicting that you watch it even when you're not around? Anna says that her cats, like a fair number of humans, especially enjoy Meerkat Manor (Fridays at 8 p.m. ET). This new show is less a nature documentary than a reality series about burrowing critters—kind of like mongooses, but cuter and more svelte—in southern Africa. You might call it Mutual of Omaha's Laguna Beach, but the power plays and elaborate social rituals of these fellas would blow the mind of the most battle-tested mean girl. The producers, showing an admirable crassitude, play it to the hilt, billing the show as "a soap opera with a difference." A typical tease for an upcoming episode: "Flower's pup Mitch gets his comeuppance when he steals food from the other pups."
Boing Boing: Coming soon, the $1000 genetic report card:
In the near future, it might only cost $1000 to sequence your entire genome. Three years ago, the first human genome decoding cost a total of $500 million. Now, it might cost $10-$15 million. The New York Times reports on several companies vying to drive the cost down to less than a grand, possibly ushering in an age where "genetic report cards" may be available at birth.
Adam Boulton Weblog: Bush & Blair Raw & Uncut:
A fascinating conversation between Tony Blair and George Bush has been caught by the microphones at the G8, when the two men didn't think they were being overheard. It tells us a lot about the relationship between the two men, about the US-UK special relationship and the two men's views on the Middle East. Here's a transcript as best as we can make out.
Blair: I don't know what you guys have talked about but as I say I am perfectly happy to try and see what the lie of the land is but you need that done quickly because otherwise it will spiral
Bush: I think Condi is going to go pretty soon
Blair: But that's that's that's all that matters. But if you, you see it will take some time to get that together
Bush: Yeah, yeah
Blair: But at least it gives people...
Bush: It's a process, I agree. I told her your offer to...
Blair: Well...it's only if I mean... you know. If she's got a..., or if she needs the ground prepared as it were... Because obviously if she goes out, she's got to succeed, if it were, whereas I can go out and just talk
Bush: You see, the ... thing is what they need to do is to get Syria, to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and it's over
Blair: Because I think this is all part of the same thing
Blair: What does he think? He thinks if Lebanon turns out fine, if we get a solution in Israel and Palestine, Iraq goes in the right way...
Bush: Yeah, yeah, he is sweet
Blair: He is honey. And that's what the whole thing is about. It's the same with Iraq.
Nick Denton, Publicity Cat - How the Gawker Media guy reaps so much media attention:
The publicity hound scratches the closed door, yips, and slobbers in hopes that someone—anyone—will notice him. But the publicity cat is stealthy, remaining in sight and just out of reach. Not necessarily unfriendly, he dispenses only as much attention as he needs to, which usually means he leaves them wanting more. Classic publicity hounds: Larry Ellison, Arlen Specter, and any celebrity who appears regularly on Larry King Live. Classic cats such as Steve Jobs, Bill Bradley, and Bob Dylan feed the media beast, but only on terms advantageous to them.
To our shortlist of classic cats, let's add the much-quoted Nick Denton, whose Gawker Media produces an entertaining and sardonic group of blogs.
I DON'T WANNA LIVE ANYMORE
a short play in five scenes and an epilogue
(c) by Josef Kocanda 2001
(B) Lisa, his girl friend - they're together for a long time
(C) Charles, his best friend
all are Teenagers
TIME: the Present
This play is written for teenagers. This text is only a basic text. The
scenes can be expanded, if the producer wishes it to. The text can be
changed, but the meaning must be the same.
The stage is mostly empty only a few props are needed.
A bed, chairs, tables and a gun
The characters must be natural. When there's a pause in the text it
also must be on the stage.
The actors were normal clothes.
SCENE 1 - CHRIS' ROOM
Chris and Lisa are sitting on a bed. Both are silent.
Hey, what's up with you? You're so different the last days! What's up?
The whole thing! It's like that ... I can't stand it! It doesn't work!
I don't want and I can't anymore!
What do you don't want anymore? Tell me!
Live ... I'm going to kill myself!
Don't say such things! It's running cold down my back, when you say
But I can't change it - it doesn't work anymore!
But why? I always thought ...
I was never lucky! The luck was always with the other people! I didn't
have luck - neither in school nor private! I don't get along with my
parents. Only with you I had luck! You ... (He gives her a kiss.)
You're the only person which loves me!
I love you! (she gives him also a kiss.) Really!
But I'm going to commit suicide!
But what about us? I live for you!
You're gonna find another guy ... but my life doesn't mean anything to
Please don't do it! - Please ...
Everything's planned now. Next week, on sunday at 3 p.m. Then I'm going
to hang myself! And if that doesn't work I have also got a gun - that's
Chris ... I can't stand it! When you kill yourself, I'm also going to
do it! Without you! What shall I do then?
Continue living, the way you're doing it now! I will be gone of your
No, not you! You'll always be there - in my memory! I'll always think
In a few years you wont know, that I lived once!
Oh yes ... always!
(She kisses him. Both kiss very long. Blackout.)
SCENE 2 - AT A CAF…
Charles sits at one of the tables and he's drinking a Cappuchino. Lisa
enters the stage and sits next to Charles.
Hello, Lisa! Why do you want to talk with me?
It's about Chris. He wants to kill himself - suicide!
He has enough of his life! He wants to do it next Sunday at 3 p.m. -
hanging or shooting himself down!
LISA: I also said this. We must interfere -
I don't know if this works! I don't think so! He's going to do it
Try? That's the thing we have to do!
I can't believe it! My best friend wants to commit suicide!
I'm together with him! I don't want to loose him - I love him!
He loves you too!
I don't know what to do! (She begins to cry.) I don't know!
Calm down! We're going to help him!
Yes, that's what we're going to do!
SCENE 3 - CHRIS' ROOM
Lisa sits on Chris' bed. Charles and Chris enter.
Here he is!
Chris, we want to talk with you!
I know why. You can't persuade me! - not now! It's too late - much to
late! Every question is set and every phrase is practised ...
Everything's planned now. I'm going to do it!
Chris, don't you think of me? I'll suffer without you.
Do think of her! What is she going to do without you?
I think of you, Lisa - every day, every hour, every minute. But I can't
stand it anymore!
It'll be better - really...
In this particular situation, certainly not!
Don't say such nonsense ( to yourself).
But it is like that! (Pause.) no - no life!
Don't do it - because you love me...
SCENE 4 - LISA'S ROOM
Lisa and Charles are sitting together.
It's so difficult for me. I know I'm going to loose a friend and I
can't do anything about it!
Do you think it's easy for me? It's the same thing!
Do you think, we can still help him?
I don't think so ... there's no way out in this situation - for him and
What shall we do! I can't see him dying!
Nothing, nothing. Really nothing. It's his decision and this we should
I don't want to loose him!
Who wants that? We've talked to him! It didn't work1
That's all ... shit!
That's it - shit!
It is ...
Look, we've tried to help him. It is his decision. We must cope with
it! Certainly, it's difficult, but it's his wish!
It's his desire!
It is! Yeah...
SCENE 5 - CHRIS' ROOM
Chris and Lisa are lying on the bed and they kiss. Romantic music can
be heard in the background.
It's so beautiful with you!
Today, it's the last time! Then it's over!
We're having such a beautiful time together. Do you want to destroy all
I must ... I must.
Think about it!
I did think about it, day and night. And I say ... (He takes a gun out
of his pocket.) Today is a beautiful day for dying!
Are you really going to do it?
Then I'm also going to commit suicide! Without you I don't want to live
Live! You have something to live for!
Without you - not!
(She snatches the gun from him an holds it against her head (temple.).
After a while she shoots. A shot can be heard, Lisa, slumps on the
floor, she's dead.)
What did I do? I killed my girlfriend. I'm a murderer! Then there's
only one thing to do ...
(He takes the gun, and holds it, like Lisa against his head (temple)
and he shoots. He also slumps on the floor.
The stage is empty. A mourning march can be heard in the background.
Charles, dressed in black, enters. He has a bunch of flowers with him.
Charles goes to the front stage. He puts the flowers on a "grave" and
he stares at the grave. Silence.
It's difficult for me to speak, Lisa and Chris. Why did you do that? I
can't believe it, that you're dead now - both... You were so happy
together. Why did you destroy all that? Chris, why did you want to
commit suicide? I know, you had problems, but you also had friend who
could have helped you. We would have made it. Lisa loved you so much,
she gave everything for you - even her life. (Pause.) Lisa... I can't
understand you... I can't... (Pause.) I can't cry... You were both my
friends... and your both gone. You were the only friends I had - and
you're both dead now. What shall I do without you both? (Pause.) I miss
you... I miss you... I miss you...
‘Gatz’ and ‘The Great Gatsby’ Vie for Broadway Stages:
There have been more versions, of course, including a 1926 Broadway play, which ran for four months, but it’s safe to say that none have been as boldly experimental as “Gatz,” produced by Elevator Repair Service, a beloved downtown stalwart whose collaborative shows often include found text, high technology and a brainy, subversive sense of humor. When he began working on “Gatz,” John Collins, the bookish artistic director of the troupe and director of the show, confronted the thorny question that every person who adapts a novel into a play must face: What to cut?
Since the book is so tautly written, Mr. Collins and his associate director, Steve Bodow, had trouble figuring out an answer until they came up with a radical idea: keep it all, every “and,” “he said” and punctuation mark from the 1995 Scribner paperback edition. At six and half hours, including three intermissions, “Gatz” is one of the most faithful adaptations in the history of theater. Falling somewhere between a reading and a conventional play, it is certainly an unusual theatrical experiment, but not unprecedented.
In a routine that has grown legendary, the comedian Andy Kaufman, a longtime inspiration for the company, was known to walk onstage at a comedy club, take out a copy of “The Great Gatsby” and read chapter after chapter until his bored audience walked out in revolt. The difference is that “Gatz” is not a stunt and audiences have not only been staying in their seats but raving about it later.
After seeing an early workshop in January 2005, Oskar Eustis, the Public Theater’s artistic director, immediately wanted to produce it. “It preserves something you almost never see onstage, which is the novelist’s voice,” he said. Mark Russell, one of the most experienced and well traveled downtown producers, said it was the best show he had seen last year.
“Gatz” has been on the international avant-garde circuit, earning good reviews in Brussels and Amsterdam over the last few months. But despite the encouraging notices and adoring producers, New Yorkers will not get to see this production — at least not in the near future. Out of courtesy to another version of “The Great Gatsby,” the F. Scott Fitzgerald estate barred Elevator Repair Service from presenting “Gatz” in its hometown.
Charlie Tomberg's South Pacific Adventure - Friday, September 30, 2005 - Tanna, Vanuatu:
The signing and dancing continued with great energy. Initially, I heard the name "John Frum" repeated over and over in the lyrics, but after that I could not make anything else. When I asked, Asned said that they were singing about John Frum, but didn't translate the lyrics. We were later told by another guide from the hotel who lives in the village that they take current events that are happening in America and incorporate them into their songs.
Cargo cult - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
The classic period of cargo cult activity, however, was in the years during and after World War II. The vast amounts of war matériel that were airdropped into these islands during the Pacific campaign against the Empire of Japan necessarily meant drastic changes to the lifestyle of the islanders. Manufactured clothing, canned food, tents, weapons and other useful goods arrived in vast quantities to equip soldiers—and also the islanders who were their guides and hosts. By the end of the war the airbases were abandoned, and "cargo" was no longer being dropped.
In attempts to get cargo to fall by parachute or land in planes or ships again, islanders imitated the same practices they had seen the soldiers, sailors and airmen use. They carved headphones from wood, and wore them while sitting in fabricated control towers. They waved the landing signals while standing on the runways. They lit signal fires and torches to light up runways and lighthouses. The cultists thought that the foreigners had some special connection to their own ancestors, who were the only beings powerful enough to produce such riches.
In a form of sympathetic magic, many built life-size mockups of airplanes out of straw, and created new military style landing strips, hoping to attract more airplanes. Ultimately, though these practices did not bring about the return of the god-like airplanes that brought such marvelous cargo during the war, they did serve to eradicate the religious practices that had existed prior to the war.
Over the last seventy-five years most cargo cults have petered out. Yet, the John Frum cult is still active on the island of Tanna, Vanuatu.
"I hesitate to say anything nice about him, for fear that it would be used against him. And thats a terrible commentary on the state of politics and the political climate today."
- SENATOR JOHN McCAIN, Republican of Arizona, on Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, Democrat of Connecticut.
Off to the market to buy a lottery ticket,
I consider the possibilities of luck: good luck.
bad luck, beginner's luck, hard luck, the luck
of the draw, and I realize I am lucky, in fact,
to be here at all, on this benignly lit street
on a night in October, as luck would have it,
and I know that it's not just the luck of
the Irish, but any man's, to walk the streets
of his town, beneath the shapely moon,
and ponder the dumb luck that brought him here,
against all odds, into the vast lottery of minnow
and ovum, and to know he has once again lucked out,
this very night, spent as it has been without
accident or incident, a small testimonial
to the quietudes that are still possible,
the only half-felt wish for some grand stroke
of luck that will change everything, that will
change, really, nothing at all, our lives being,
in some sense, beyond the vicissitudes
of luck and yearning, the night being lovely,
the day finite, many of those we know whose luck
has already run out, and we not yet among them,
thank the beneficence of Lady Luck, our stars
just now flickering into flame
as the night lucks in.
What we need is to use what we have.
Some Leeway for the Small Shoplifter - New York Times:
According to internal documents, the company, the nation’s largest retailer and leading destination for shoplifting, will no longer prosecute first-time thieves unless they are between 18 and 65 and steal merchandise worth at least $25, putting the chain in line with the policies of many other retailers.
It may also serve to placate small-town police departments across the country who have protested what the company has called its zero-tolerance policy on shoplifting. Employees summoned officers whether a customer stole a $5 toy or a $5,000 television set — anything over $3, the company said.
At some of the chain’s giant 24-hour stores, the police make up to six arrests a day prompting a handful of departments to hire an additional officer just to deal with the extra workload.
The Long Tail, in a nutshell:
The theory of the Long Tail is that our culture and economy is increasingly shifting away from a focus on a relatively small number of "hits" (mainstream products and markets) at the head of the demand curve and toward a huge number of niches in the tail. As the costs of production and distribution fall, especially online, there is now less need to lump products and consumers into one-size-fits-all containers. In an era without the constraints of physical shelf space and other bottlenecks of distribution, narrowly-target goods and services can be as economically attractive as mainstream fare.
The Long Tail - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Anderson argued that products that are in low demand or have low sales volume can collectively make up a market share that rivals or exceeds the relatively few current bestsellers and blockbusters, if the store or distribution channel is large enough. Examples of such mega-stores include the online retailer Amazon.com and the online video rental service Netflix. The Long Tail is a potential market and, as the examples illustrate, successfully tapping in to that long tail market is often enabled by the distribution and sales channel opportunities the Internet creates.
A former Amazon employee described the Long Tail as follows: "We sold more books today that didn't sell at all yesterday than we sold today of all the books that did sell yesterday." In the same sense, the user-edited internet encyclopedia Wikipedia has many low popularity articles that, collectively, create a higher quantity of demand than a limited number of mainstream articles found in a conventional encyclopedia such as the Encyclopædia Britannica.
There is such a thing as too much choice - Jul. 12, 2006:
Still, I think his analysis is mostly right. The interesting question is whether all this choice along The Long Tail is an unalloyed good. "I think it's a net positive, but there are definite tradeoffs," Anderson told me, when I called to ask him. "Do we lose something as a society if we have less in common? How do we define ourselves as Americans if we are not sharing the same culture impacts?"
At the Fishhouses
Although it is a cold evening,
down by one of the fishhouses
an old man sits netting,
his net, in the gloaming almost invisible,
a dark purple-brown,
and his shuttle worn and polished.
The air smells so strong of codfish
it makes one's nose run and one's eyes water.
The five fishhouses have steeply peaked roofs
and narrow, cleated gangplanks slant up
to storerooms in the gables
for the wheelbarrows to be pushed up and down on.
All is silver: the heavy surface of the sea,
swelling slowly as if considering spilling over,
is opaque, but the silver of the benches,
the lobster pots, and masts, scattered
among the wild jagged rocks,
is of an apparent translucence
like the small old buildings with an emerald moss
growing on their shoreward walls.
The big fish tubs are completely lined
with layers of beautiful herring scales
and the wheelbarrows are similarly plastered
with creamy iridescent coats of mail,
with small iridescent flies crawling on them.
Up on the little slope behind the houses,
set in the sparse bright sprinkle of grass,
is an ancient wooden capstan,
cracked, with two long bleached handles
and some melancholy stains, like dried blood,
where the ironwork has rusted.
The old man accepts a Lucky Strike.
He was a friend of my grandfather.
We talk of the decline in the population
and of codfish and herring
while he waits for a herring boat to come in.
There are sequins on his vest and on his thumb.
He has scraped the scales, the principal beauty,
from unnumbered fish with that black old knife,
the blade of which is almost worn away.
Down at the water's edge, at the place
where they haul up the boats, up the long ramp
descending into the water, thin silver
tree trunks are laid horizontally
across the gray stones, down and down
at intervals of four or five feet.
Cold dark deep and absolutely clear,
element bearable to no mortal,
to fish and to seals . . . One seal particularly
I have seen here evening after evening.
He was curious about me. He was interested in music;
like me a believer in total immersion,
so I used to sing him Baptist hymns.
I also sang "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God."
He stood up in the water and regarded me
steadily, moving his head a little.
Then he would disappear, then suddenly emerge
almost in the same spot, with a sort of shrug
as if it were against his better judgment.
Cold dark deep and absolutely clear,
the clear gray icy water . . . Back, behind us,
the dignified tall firs begin.
Bluish, associating with their shadows,
a million Christmas trees stand
waiting for Christmas. The water seems suspended
above the rounded gray and blue-gray stones.
I have seen it over and over, the same sea, the same,
slightly, indifferently swinging above the stones,
icily free above the stones,
above the stones and then the world.
If you should dip your hand in,
your wrist would ache immediately,
your bones would begin to ache and your hand would burn
as if the water were a transmutation of fire
that feeds on stones and burns with a dark gray flame.
If you tasted it, it would first taste bitter,
then briny, then surely burn your tongue.
It is like what we imagine knowledge to be:
dark, salt, clear, moving, utterly free,
drawn from the cold hard mouth
of the world, derived from the rocky breasts
forever, flowing and drawn, and since
our knowledge is historical, flowing, and flown.
Copy What You Like:
How do you avoid copying the wrong things? Copy only what you genuinely like. That would have saved me in all three cases. I didn't enjoy the short stories we had to read in English classes; I didn't learn anything from philosophy papers; I didn't use expert systems myself. I believed these things were good because they were admired.
It can be hard to separate the things you like from the things you're impressed with. One trick is to ignore presentation. Whenever I see a painting impressively hung in a museum, I ask myself: how much would I pay for this if I found it at a garage sale, dirty and frameless, and with no idea who painted it? If you walk around a museum trying this experiment, you'll find you get some truly startling results. Don't ignore this data point just because it's an outlier.
More to Life Than Elaine's:
Rather, his problem is that he is too easily led astray by temptation, whether in the form of a gorgeous blonde co-worker, with whom he has "dangerous sex in stolen moments," or a charming dot-com entrepreneur whose six-figure salary offer persuades Mr. Goodwillie to join an Internet start-up. The message of "Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time" is that abandoning your career to follow your dream is pretty tough when, like Mr. Goodwillie, you're so darn successful.
There were moments, reading this book, when I began to wish that he hadn't given up the day job. In the course of 356 closely typed pages, I learned that "creative people have no place in the real world"; that New York is a "grand experiment in finding oneself"; that people viewed from the top of tall buildings "look like ants scurrying every which way"; that "Chinatown bustles with the manic energy of immigrants"; that being 13 is "a curious, painful age"; that "fashion isn't about clothes"; that the author and his father "always run out of things to say after ten or fifteen minutes"; and that Montclair, N.J., is "leafy."
The real problem that Mr. Goodwillie faces as a writer, though, isn't his over-reliance on cliché so much as his fatal lack of irony. There are no jokes in "Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time," no sentences that have more than one meaning. On the contrary, Mr. Goodwillie is in deadly earnest 100% of the time.
Watch Hasselhoff and feel your brain explode:
A Blog Around The Clock : Happy Birthday Nikola Tesla!:
Today is the 150th birthday of Nikola Tesla. Here is an attempt to put in one place as much as can be found about the celebrations of his birthday and birth-year, the information about Tesla, the mentions in the media and on blogs, etc. I will keep updating this post throughout the day so, please, if you know of something I missed, or if you have seen (or written yourself) a blogpost related to Tesla, please let me know by e-mail or in the comments so I can check it out and perhaps include it in this post.
As Long As You're Looking …:
But Mr. President, here's the thing. In return for my unconditional support of all your secret surveillance programs, I was wondering: Could you do me one small favor? For a closing deadline I'm trying to meet for work, I need my April and May statements from my Sun Trust account. I was on hold with Sun Trust forever this morning, and then they finally said they would make me a copy of my own records, but at, like, five dollars a page. Also, it's going to take them about five to seven business days to get them to me. Look, I know it's my fault for leaving this till the last minute. But could you just e-mail me those two months? That would be so great. Should I just ask the CIA for them? Can you give me the name of whoever it is that is tracking my accounts and I can follow up? Apparently I need both the front and back of each page; that's a big deal I guess.
Also, while I have you: Who should I talk with on the cable/Internet side? Because I was really ticked off about my bill this month, and when I called I got switched back and forth between Verizon and AT&T. In the end, neither of them could really figure out whether my small-business package—"Freedom To Save"—was the exact right one for my firm of a dozen or so employees, and I just totally gave up. Listen, I know this gets really tedious at your end, but I gather that as part of your Enduring Freedom campaign, you also have extensive records on my cell phone, long distance, and Internet information. So, I was just wondering if maybe someone at Treasury or I don't know where could just run the numbers and tell me what's the best plan for me? I don't want you to do it personally; I'm sure you're pretty busy right now. But if you can just tell me who to call at that end, I think we could get me set up with a calling plan by the end of the day.
Gothamist: When You Really Need Green to Hit the Greens:
Golf has always had somewhat of an "upper crust of society" feel to it, but sometimes that feeling goes even farther than one could even imagine. Case in point: Liberty National Golf Club. Liberty National, just across the Hudson River in Jersey City, just opened last month and has some of the most ridiculous member benefits that Gothamist has ever heard of...benefits include a complementary yacht-ride from Manhattan, massages at the driving range, a view of Manhattan, and caddies with GPS systems to help pinpoint the distance from your errant ball to the holes. Oh, and if that boat ride takes too long, you can jump on the club helicopter.
Of course, all this comes at a cost. The initiation fee is a hefty $400,000 and the clubhouse won't be finished until 2008! The club already has 50 members and has a capacity of 325 for the coming years, but you better start saving your pennies now. The director of golf development said that the initiation fees to the $130 million facility could reach $1 million by 2010.
The Politics of Paranoia and Intimidation by Floyd Rudmin:
The US Census shows that there are about 300 million people living in the USA.
Suppose that there are 1,000 terrorists there as well, which is probably a high estimate. The base-rate would be 1 terrorist per 300,000 people. In percentages, that is .00033%, which is way less than 1%. Suppose that NSA surveillance has an accuracy rate of .40, which means that 40% of real terrorists in the USA will be identified by NSA's monitoring of everyone's email and phone calls. This is probably a high estimate, considering that terrorists are doing their best to avoid detection. There is no evidence thus far that NSA has been so successful at finding terrorists. And suppose NSA's misidentification rate is .0001, which means that .01% of innocent people will be misidentified as terrorists, at least until they are investigated, detained and interrogated. Note that .01% of the US population is 30,000 people. With these suppositions, then the probability that people are terrorists given that NSA's system of surveillance identifies them as terrorists is only p=0.0132, which is near zero, very far from one. Ergo, NSA's surveillance system is useless for finding terrorists.
Situation Two: The Hot Teacher :
Paul, a student in his late twenties, walks up to the desk of his teacher, Professor Mandy, who has enormous breasts.
Paul: You wanted to see me after class, professor?
Professor Mandy: Yes. I need to test your performance.
Professor Mandy: (fellates Paul)
Paul: You wanted to see me after class, professor?
Professor Mandy: Yes. I need to test your performance.
Professor Mandy: A series of tests based on the material covered in this course.
Paul: Could I just have sex with you instead?
Professor Mandy: (sues Paul)
PIRATE'S LIFE FOR YOU By MANDY STADTMILLER:
IS the brand spanking new "Complete Idiot's Guide to Pirates" really necessary?
Um, is a pirate's favorite Oscar winner Warren Matey? Does a pirate only read "Playboy" for the arrr-ticles? Is a pirate's favorite "Star Wars" character Arrr-2 D-2?
That would be a hell yes. Hell to the yes.
But is it a good read?
The complaint recounts a raucous crowd that applauded the board's opening prayer and then, when sixth-grader Alexander Dobrich stood up to read a statement, yelled at him "take your yarmulke off!" His statement, read by Samantha, confided "I feel bad when kids in my class call me Jew boy." [...]
A former board member suggested that Mona Dobrich might "disappear" like Madalyn Murray O'Hair, the atheist whose Supreme Court case resulted in ending organized school prayer. She disappeared in 1995 and her dismembered body was found six years later.
The crowd booed an ACLU speaker and told her to "go back up north."
In the days after the meeting the community poured venom on the Dobriches. Callers to the local radio station said the family they should convert or leave the area. Someone called them and said the Ku Klux Klan was nearby.
Londonist: Opinion: Freedom Of Speech Does Not Extend To Criticising The Police:
My friend Phil and I were going through a metal detector on the way out of Highbury & Islington tube on Friday evening around 8.30pm, on our way to a gig. Phil, who has a degree in physics, said to me in a low voice that the metal detector was a "piece of shit that wouldn't stop anyone". Obviously, someone was listening, as all of a sudden, half a dozen policemen jumped on him and hustled him over to the corner of the tube station, where he was detained for about 20 minutes for the grave crime of swearing in public, and fined £80 for the privilege. For swearing! On the tube! If it's such a crime, then I owe them about a million pounds, as swearing on and at the tube is the only way to deal with the pain of having to travel on the dratted thing every day.
The police were fucking rude, too, and treated Phil like he was a hardened criminal - they were really aggressive, and clearly wanted him to lose his temper so they could charge him with something worse. They said repeatedly he was very close to being arrested. For the terrible crime of swearing and calling their machine a piece of shit - which, as a physics graduate, he actually knows about. Phil co-operated fully and gave them every piece of ID you could think of, and allowed them to search his bag, but that wasn't enough for them - they just had to keep on firing questions. I got really upset and started crying through rage, frustration and fear. I also asked them very politely if this was the UK or the People's Republic of China. They then told me I was very close to being arrested, too.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 3 OPEN CALL:
Seeking Pirates -- men age 18+, all shapes and sizes, all ethnicities: Asian, Spanish, French, African, Syrian, Lebanese, Middle Eastern, Turkish, Armenian, Arab, Persian, Caucasian, South American, Pacific Islander, Eskimo, etc...
You must be an extreme character type! We need extremely skinny, very tall, very short, hunchback, little people, unusual facial features and body types, exotic amputees, albinos, etc.
We're off to the Berkshires for the weekend—check out the show on Saturday night if you're up for it. Full details are available here, and tickets are still available over here.
Lightship Frying Pan:
For the finale of this story, we rode out Hurricane Donna. I was on the bridge with the Executive officer, Boatswain Mate Chief Eugene Pond (now Deceased). We were watching the anemometer (wind measuring device when at 100 mph, the needle went to zero. We thought it had twisted the cable off but later we saw that it simply was blown away. We had what we estimated at 50 foot waves. We tied a line down through the interior of the vessel running fore and aft. It was our only means of not getting thrown around, we all had our life jackets on and we were literally scared to death. And we were a seasoned crew, I already had a hitch in the Navy beforehand. We took one roll of 70 degrees and didn't know if we would right or not.
For your entertainment this evening:
Come on down and check out the show—it should be a lot of fun.
SPACE.com -- Tourism Update: Jeff Bezos’ Spaceship Plans Revealed:
The public space travel business is picking up suborbital speed thanks to a variety of private rocket groups and their dream machines.
Joining the mix is Blue Origin's New Shepard Reusable Launch System. It is financially fueled by an outflow of dollars from the deep pockets of billionaire Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com.
'Stone' Renders a Vermont City's Origins in Grit and Granite - New York Times:
Now the words of the men and women who were lured here by the promise of quarry work are heard again in "Stone," a docudrama written and directed by Kim Bent and performed by the Lost Nation Theater here, eight miles west of Barre.
"Stone" is based on the book "Men Against Granite," a compilation of interviews that Mari Tomasi and Roaldus Richmond did in the 1930's with granite workers and their families. The conversations, part of the Works Progress Administration's Federal Writers Project, sought to chronicle life across the country.
Service Is Our Business
It used to be black as the insides of a Penzoil can
whenever we drove this ten-mile stretch of Highway 25
at night from lit-up Asheville back to our gloomy house
in Arden, no stoplights or streetlights anywhere, nothing.
And there's where (during the day) mom would stop for gas,
a Shell filling station in the curve at the foot of a long hill,
a couple of pumps and a little office and a double bay
over which "Service Is Our Business" shone in red plastic
as the smiling proprietor emerged, wiping his large hands,
looking like Glenn Miller on the 78-rpm records she'd play
(I still have them, maiden initials scratched on each label),
like some veteran still wearing his crisp khaki uniform.
He'd bend to the open window and speak to her, then us,
sun polishing his wire rims, starching his cursive name,
brightening the yellow scallop shell stitched to his chest
and the huge one slowly revolving overhead as he began
hooking the nozzle in the tank (gas rushing behind us),
checking (obscured but heard) the oil and radiator water,
cleaning each window (mom laughing loud through hers),
topping off (when needed) the fluids or the air in tires,
then lowering the heavy hood gently, not slamming it down,
and firmly replacing the gas cap behind the license plate,
and taking her offered bills with a thank-you and half-bow
before watching us drive off, shading his eyes as if saluting.
That was 40 years ago. Gas was 28.2. Now that I'm the age
she was then, I wonder: Who was that guy? A former boyfriend?
A harmless but steady flirtation? And what was she to him
another nice housewife to flatter, to keep the business going?
Or were they just a couple of decent lonely people
who enjoyed each other's company for a few public minutes
before returning to work and turning up their tinny radios,
longing to hear "In the Mood" or "Moonlight Serenade". ...
That station's long gone. Now it's ten pumps and a mini-mart.
Service was his business. And service was her business, too,
a mother serving children every day for over twenty years
until they were old enough to drive their cars away from her.
I pump my own gas then climb into town past strip mall
after strip mall, this local branch of the Dixie Highway
lifting its newly affluent glare into the lost sky every night.
We used to look up at countless stars. Mom loved "Stardust."
I tidy my parents' graves at the cemetery behind K-Mart.
Dusk lurks. That man with the ovaled name might be here
on this hillside with my mother, just one of many customers
queued up in the darkest dark of all, waiting to be served.
The McCollough Effect - An On-line Science Exhibit:
If you look at the black-and-white grid again, you should notice a green haze around the horizontal lines, and a magenta haze around the vertical lines. The intensity of this effect varies between individuals. If you don't see this, go gaze at the colored grids for a while longer.
I know what you are thinking: this is a simple afterimage effect. If you think so, walk away from your terminal until you think the after image should be gone. Go home and try it in the morning. Then take a look. Or better, simply rotate the image. Well, maybe that isn't so simple with a CRT, but you could rotate your head.
It is called the McCollough Effect, and was originally described by Celeste McCollough in a paper in Science in 1965. It has been the focus of on-going investigation ever since.
The effect typically lasts for hours, or even overnight. The duration can be changed by the consumption of coffee and other psychoactive drugs. One paper found that it is stronger in extroverts than introverts, and might be a reliable test for extroversion.
Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter.
Try again. Fail again.
Slashdot | NSA Had Domestic Call Monitoring Before 9/11?:
"Bloomberg is reporting that, according to documents filed in the breach of privacy suit on behalf of Verizon and BellSouth, the NSA asked AT&T to set up its domestic call monitoring site seven months before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Could it be that they were intending to monitor domestic calls (and internet traffic) all along, and the 'Global War on Terror' was just a convenient excuse when they got caught?"
Monday Becomes Orphan Workday for Some - AM New York:
NEW YORK -- With the July Fourth holiday falling on Tuesday this year, Monday will be an orphan workday for many people who can't take the day off.
Although other national holidays are usually moved to the nearest Monday, Independence Day is always observed on July 4. And while some companies are giving their employees an extra day off Monday, many other people who do have to work might not be as productive as usual.
Some may be a little out of sorts, knowing they're stuck on the job while friends or relatives are at backyard barbecues. But workplace experts say that it might not entirely be their fault that they're less productive -- a lot of tasks require collaboration and many co-workers, customers and other business associates won't be there.
Roots of human family tree are shallow - Yahoo! News:
"Had you entered any village on Earth in around 3,000 B.C., the first person you would have met would probably be your ancestor," Hein marveled.
It also means that all of us have ancestors of every color and creed. Every Palestinian suicide bomber has Jews in his past. Every Sunni Muslim in Iraq is descended from at least one Shiite. And every Klansman's family has African roots.
How can this be?
Zod 2008 - General Zod - 2008 Presidential Candidate:
When I first came to your planet and demanded your homes, property and very lives, I didn't know you were already doing so, willingly, with your own government. I can win no tribute from a bankrupted nation populated by feeble flag-waving plebians. In 2008 I shall restore your dignity and make you servants worthy of my rule. This new government shall become a tool of my oppression. Instead of hidden agendas and waffling policies, I offer you direct candor and brutal certainty. I only ask for your tribute, your lives, and your vote.
-- General Zod
Your Future President and Eternal Ruler
Consumer power | Shop affronts | Economist.com:
ON AN otherwise quiet Friday afternoon in Guangzhou, a city in southern China, 500 shoppers gather outside a Gome electrical superstore in the downtown district. They arrive en masse at the designated time—June 16th at 4pm—that they had previously agreed online. Several hours later, they emerge clutching boxes, having secured 10-30% discounts on cameras, DVD players and flat-screen televisions. “It was great,” says Fairy Zhang. “We just bought an apartment and this way we can afford nice things for it.” The previous weekend, over 100 locals visited Meizhu Central, a well known furniture outlet, to haggle over the prices of kitchen cabinets and dining-room furniture.
Tuangou, or team buying, aims to drive unprecedented bargains by combining the reach of the internet with the power of the mob. It is spreading through China like wildfire. The practice originated in online chat-rooms but has quickly inspired several specialist websites, such as 51tuangou.com and www.teambuy.com.cn. Zhang Wei, who helped to set up teambuy less than six months ago, says the site has 10,000 registered members. The company plans to expand into Beijing and Shanghai.
The History of My Life
Once upon a time there were two brothers.
Then there was only one: myself.
I grew up fast, before learning to drive,
even, there was I: a stinking adult
I thought of developing interests
someone might take an interest in. No soap.
I became very weepy for what had seemed
like the pleasant early years. As I aged
increasingly, I also grew more charitable
with regard to my thoughts and ideas,
thinking them at least as good as the next man's.
Then a great devouring cloud
came and loitered on the horizon, drinking
it up for what seemed like months or years.